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By The Humboldt Publishing Co. 


108-H4 WOOSTES ST., N. Y 





Experiments and Observations of the Author. 

Chapter I. — Apparent Mental Suggestion, 
II. — Probable Mental Suggestion, 
III. — True Mental Suggestion, 
IV. — Experiments at Havre, 
V. — New Experiments, 





Facts observed by Others. Evolution of Mental Suggestion 

Physical Analysis. 

Chapter I. — Organic Sympathism, ..... 105 

II. — Sympathism and Contagion, . . . .118 

III. — Transmission of Emotive States, . . . 146 

IV. — Transmission of Ideas, . . . . .161 

V. — Direct Will-Transmission, . . . .196 

VI. — Will- Action and the Question of "Rapport," 212 

VII. — Action Unbeknown to the Subject and 

Against His Will, . . . . .231 

VIII. — Deferred Mental Suggestion, . . . 249 

IX. — Mental Suggestion at a Distance, . .258 


Theories. Conclusions. Applications. 

Chapter I. — The Hypothesis of Exalted Perception, . 287 
II. — The Hypothesis of Brain Exaltation, with 

Paralysis of the Senses, . . . .292 

III. — The Hypothesis of Direct Psychic Action, . 295 
IV. — The Hypothesis of Direct Physical Action, . 299 
V. — The Hypothesis of a Universal Fluid, . . 303 
VI. — The Hypothesis of Psycho-Physical Trans- 
mission, . . . . . . 3 1 7 

VII. — The Elements of a Scientific Explanation, . 320 

VIII. — The Law of Reversibility, .... 332 

IX. — Final Suppositions, ..... 337 

Appendix, . . . . • 353 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Open Knowledge Commons and Harvard Medical School 


This book, the title of which will, perhaps, scare those who fear 
novelty, is not a work of imagination, but of experience. A multitude 
of facts are set forth herein, that have been observed as well by the 
author himself as by sundry experimenters. It is a collection of facts, 
and nowhere else can you find brought together so many data. But 
it is not enough to accumulate facts — the facts must be rightly 
observed. In this respect Mr. Ochorowicz's criticism of the facts he 
has witnessed, or that he cites from the accounts given by other 
scientific men, is as rigorous as is called for by a subject so difficult. 
The most notable thing in his work is the resolute, unflagging deter- 
mination to weigh all objections, to put away all causes of bad faith, 
whether conscious or unconscious, to take note of the difficulties of 
the problem, sometimes magnifying them, and not to be content till 
every possible cause of illusion has been removed. 

The task was difficult, and it is much to have attempted it under 
conditions so stringent. 

To demonstrate mental suggestion it suffices to eliminate two causes 
of error : 

First, the error due to fraud. And when I say fraud, I do not mean 
willful deception plotted, contrived, studied beforehand — that is very 
rare ; but unconscious, automatic fraud (so to speak) produced by the 
natural tendency that is in all of us to wish to make an experiment 
successful when qnce we have taken it in hand. Hence, we must first 
of all make sure that no involuntary indication can have been given; 
in other words, that there has been no word or gesture or touch that 
could lead the person that answers to give preferably such or such 

The second cause of error is chance. Chance often brings about 
amazing coincidences. Now, mathematical certitude is never attain- 
able in cases where chance may play a part ; nevertheless, there is a 
moral certitude resulting from the continuous success of many experi- 
ments, the probability of any one of which is weak. 

Mr. Ochorowicz has sought to eliminate these various difficulties ; 
he finds a certain number of cas'es which he regards as conclusive — 


and I think I may say that he is pretty exacting in the matter of 
proofs. In consequence of certain decisive experiments he has 
reached a conviction, and naturally he strives to make his readers 
share it with him. 

And yet I do not think that his book, strong as it is in proofs, will 
convince all, or even many persons. I know too well (from my own 
experience) how difficult it is to believe what we have seen when it does 
not accord with the general tenor of our thoughts, with the common- 
places that underlie all our knowledge. A fortnight ago I witnessed 
such or such an astonishing fact, and I was convinced. To-day I 
toss my head and begin to doubt. Six months hence I shall no longer 
believe it at all. This is a curious anomaly of our mind. To produce 
conviction, it is not enough that a fact is proven logically and experi- 
mentally; it is necessary, furthermore, that we, so to speak, become 
intellectually habituated to it. If it clashes with our routine, it is 
rejected, spurned. 

This is what is commonly called " common sense." Common sense 
it is that makes us reject all new and unexpected thoughts ; that 
regulates our conduct and governs our opinions. 

And yet this much-lauded " common sense " is little better than a 
routine of the intelligence. To-day's common sense is not the com- 
mon sense of a couple of hundred years ago, or of a couple of thousand 
years ago. A couple of thousand years ago it was common sense to 
believe that the sun revolves round the earth and at even sinks into 
the ocean. A couple of hundred years ago it was common sense that 
one cannot in one day send a message to Pekin and receive an answer ; 
but to-day common sense says that one can send a telegram thither, 
answer prepaid. To-day common sense commands that an army of a 
million soldiers be maintained, with five million muskets. Two or 
three centuries hence will not this common sense seem astounding 
absurdity ? 

Hence, if mental suggestion is opposed in the name of common 
sense, the common sense of the present year is meant, for the common 
sense of ten years hence will have quite other tendencies. It is only 
a question of time, and I dare say that after a few years this idea, 
having made its way into people's minds, will be found quite matter- 
of-course. People will, perhaps, even marvel that we should have 
found so much difficulty in accepting it. Do we not see the immortal 
discoveries of our great Pasteur, though proved by a superabundance 
of demonstrative experiments, nevertheless meeting an astonishing 
amount of opposition ? What stronger evidence is needed of our 
incurable routine ? 

Not that I consider mental suggestion as rigorously proven once 
for all. Certainly not. Strictly demonstrative experiments are rare. 
In general, when they are conclusive (by concordance of results) they 


are not irreproachable in other respects ; and when they are irreproach- 
able, they are not conclusive. But some there are that are at once 
irreproachable and conclusive ; they will be found set forth in this 
book, and the reader will be able to judge of their importance. 

After the facts, the theories. Of these there are many, but to me 
they do not seem to be of any great importance. The essential 
thing is to establish this fact, that independently of any phenomenon 
appreciable by our normal senses, or by our normal perspicacity, how quick 
soever it may be supposed to be, there exists between the thought of two indi- 
diduals a correlation such as chance cannot account for. 

The demonstration of this proposition is, to my thinking, the funda- 
mental point. And though Mr. Ochorowicz and others before him 
have amassed proofs, these do not produce absolute, complete convic- 
tion, but only doubt : so strong in its action upon our ideas is the 
influence of routine and of habit. 

But whatever the opinion ultimately formed as to the reality of 
mental suggestion, it ought not, I think, to influence one's judgment 
as to Mr. Ochorowicz's book. Everybody, it seems to me, must 
recognize his sincerity, his perseverance, and his contempt for ready- 
made opinions. One feels that he has a passionate love of truth. 
That is an encomium that every man of good faith will appreciate. 

Charles Richet. 




"The man who, outside of pure mathematics, pronounces the word IMPOSSIBLE, lacks 

prudence." — Arago, in his ttoge of Bailly. 

THE limits of the possible are receding. The experimental 
method, after having founded positive psychology, is itself 
introducing us into the domain of the miraculous. 

" Hypnotism " is henceforth part and parcel of science, and " sug- 
gestion," which produces most of its wonders, no longer surprises us ; 
on the contrary, we constantly refer to it as explaining other phe- 
nomena still harder to understand. 

Yet with mental suggestion the problem grows complicated. The 
explanation offered by the Commission 1 of 1784, viz.: "imagination 
and imitation," no longer suffices. One loses one's way ; one seems 
ready to spurn science and to go headlong into occultism. 

This limit once overpast, and mental suggestion accepted, may we 
flatter ourselves with the thought that there is some other phenome- 
non still more extraordinary to study ? 

But what matters it ? Truth has nothing in it to make science 
afraid. This truth may even be absolutely at variance with current 
opinions, but none the less is it worthy of being studied with care, 
for nothing is so helpful to progress as a discovery that contradicts 
dominant theories. 

But — is this a discovery ? Is it a truth ? That is the whole 

Let us for the nonce put away scruples ; let us double our habitual 
precautions, our tests, and let us examine the facts. An experiment 

1 Appointed by the French Academy to investigate " Mesmerism." — Translator . 


is always instructive, even when it involves an illusion. Saved from 
the trouble of explaining the experiment, we shall have to get at the 
illusion ; and if we succeed in accounting for that, why there is a 
result at all events. 

And now, kind reader, if we are agreed as to principles, let us 
begin our little journey in search of a phenomenon in Mental Sug- 



I MUST, first of all, confess that a year ago I did not believe in 
mental suggestion — not only did not believe in it, but the ques- 
tion did not to me appear to be important enough to warrant a special 
study. Yet several times I had tested the alleged action of thought 
upon a certain number of subjects. 

First at Lublin, in 1867, 1 I experimented on a youth of seventeen, 
one pretty difficult to endorm, 2 but who, once in the somnambulic 
state, presented certain interesting phenomena. 

For example, he would recognize any person of his acquaintance 
who might simply touch him on the back with a finger. Once he dis- 
tinguished in this way as many as fifteen persons, one after another ; 
and I must add that some of these persons entered after he had been 

Though he showed a little hesitation with regard to persons that 
did not belong to the circle of his habitual acquaintance, he always 
distinguished my touch from that of every one else ; and once he 
recognized a lady that had entered unknown to him, and whom he 
had seen for the first time several days before. 

How could he do it? 

As for the difference between the magnetizer and a stranger, it is 
very clearly recognized by many somnambules. The magnetizer's 
touch is to them either agreeable or indifferent, while the touch of 
any other person causes them pain. Why ? Because these persons, 
say the magnetizers, are not " in rapport " with the subject. But 
that phrase does not tell us much. What, then, is " rapport ? " 

To state the question clearly, it is first to be observed that this phe- 
nomenon does not exist in " hypnotism " properly so-called. Let an 
hypnotized subject be touched by whomsoever, and if that touch 

'That same year appeared my first work on " Magnetism" (Warsaw, 1867, Gazeta 

2 In French, endormir — to put to sleep ; to put in the magnetic or the hypnotic 
sleep. — Translator. 


causes him pain, then the touch of all other persons will have the same 
effect. He hears either everybody or nobody, obeys everybody, and 
can be awakened by any one. 

It is not always so in the magnetic sleep, so-called, produced not 
by an inanimate object (a shining button, for example), but by a mag- 
netizer, and especially by passes. 

Now, every person has his own way of touching, and when one is 
accustomed to it, one readily notices the contact, the warmth, or the 
pressure of a strange hand. Some domestic animals, cats especially, 
will not suffer strangers to fondle them. If we stroke with the hand 
a sleeping cat that shows this idiosyncrasy, we easily recognize the 
fact from the difference in the reflex movements. The cat stretches 
herself out at full length languorously if it is her mistress that strokes 
her ; if it is a stranger, she awakes dissatisfied and runs away. 

The isolation in which the magnetized subject exists, and the possi- 
bility of his concentrating his attention better than in waking, facilitate 
this differential sensibility. It is strengthened by exercise, by habit. 
The subject takes those impressions best to which he is accustomed ; 
sometimes even they become for him a need, an agreeable necessity, 
whereas unexpected and unwonted sensations confuse him. 

But when there is question of distinguishing between strangers, this 
explanation seems no longer sufficient, even though we suppose mole- 
cular differences of touch — differences probable indeed, but not 
proved ; which, besides, would have to be known beforehand, through 
habit, so that the subject might from them infer correspondence 
between a certain physical sensation and a given psychic personality. 

Have we, then, here mental suggestion ? 

To recognize a person is to recognize in particular his psychic person- 
ality ; that is, to recognize that living whole, inwardly active, whereof 
the external tactual manifestations are but a weak reflection. If, then, 
it were proven that the ego of a person can act upon the ego of the 
subject, that were a direct explanation, and it would be relatively 
adequate. The person touching thinks of himself ; his mental state 
may be represented by an affirmation ( " It is I " ) and a question 
( " Do you recognize me ? " ). All the persons present are looking at 
him, and, of course, thinking of him ; hence, the whole company 
influences the subject, and this influence constitutes suggestion. 

But if such an explanation is to be accepted, mental suggestion 
must be proved to exist, while these experiments are far from proving 
it by themselves. Hence, I turned to another explanation, more 
natural, indeed, though rather complex, viz., that there was suggestion 
on the part of the company, but not mental suggestion. The subject 
was blindfolded, but as I called his attention to the people around him 
he could hear all that passed ; he was at home, habit made him 
familiar with every possible noise of doors, furniture, floor ; he was 


intimately acquainted with the eight or ten persons present before his 
sleep ; those who, at a given moment, did not take part in the experi- 
ment would freely exchange a few words in a high voice, while the 
others would request silence ; the hearing of familiar voices enables 
one pretty accurately to determine the position of different interlocu- 
tors ; and the noise made by the unavoidable changes of place helps 
one to complete or to correct one's judgments as occasion may require. 

All these inductions may have been perfectly unconscious. In some 
respects we are better observers in dreams than in the waking state. 
The imaginary scenes of our dreams represent persons of our acquaint- 
ance in strict accordance with their characters and habits, reproducing 
their favorite sayings, and no end of physiognomic signs that our 
conscious observation takes no note of. Hence, it well may be that 
a somnambule, who has no distractions, whose whole recollection and 
whose every sensation contribute to one single perceptive act, can 
make out better than we the connections of certain signs. 

The only fact that struck me as rather unaccountable, was the 
somnambule's recognition of the lady whom he had seen only once ; 
but that incident presented some peculiarities of a kind to serve as 
pointers. The rustling of a silk robe behind his chair betokened to 
the subject a woman, and she a stranger, for the women of the house 
had no such robe. She hardly touched him, thus plainly showing 
timidity ; ergo, more likely a spinster than a married woman ; of the 
young ladies likely to come to the party in a silk gown, Miss W. stood 
among the first ; ergo, it is Miss W. 

Consequently, in the facts described, we have only suggestion by 
conjecture. 1 

Here is another experiment made upon the same subject, and 
apparently still more extraordinary. The problem was, to determine 
whether there was vision without the aid of the eyes. 

I take up a book at such distance from the subject that he cannot 
see what it contains, and I open it anywhere. I then bid him read. 

" I do not see clearly," he answers. I suggest^ to him the first two 
or three words of the page, and ask him to go on with the rest. 
"That is in the middle of the second volume," says he, naming the 
chapter; "it is Kraszewski's novel 'The World and the Poet.'" 
"Just so," I answer ; " go on, then." And to our great astonishment 
he goes and reads a whole page, with hardly a slip. Whenever I laid 
the book aside he stopped ; he " read " fluently when I kept my eyes 
on the text. I turned over a page ; still he read well. 

Some of the persons who witnessed this experiment thought they 
had here a demonstration of "second sight," despite the explanations 
I offered, and which I will state presently. 

1 We shall see later that the explanation of "rapport " given here is in many cases 


But if it was no "second sight," do we need a better proof of mental 
suggestion ? 

Unfortunately, we do ! For, first, he " read," though less well, while 
the book was closed ; he needed only to have the opening phrase of a 
passage given him — therefore it was not thought-transference ; neither 
was it second sight, for without that suggestion of the opening words 
he could not even read the number of the page, or make out anything 

Here is the explanation of the mystery : The youth had shortly 
before read twice over the novel by Kraszewski already mentioned — 
had read it as people used to read in Poland in those days, and 
particularly those 17 years of age. He knew it almost by heart. 
Evidently he could not recite page after page verbatim in the waking 
state ; but the one thing that our experiment proves is, the astonishing 
activity of recollection in somnambulism. And as for the influence of my 
thought, that is a very simple matter ; the subject " saw " better while 
I was looking in the book, because then I used to correct his little 
errors. It was these errors that suggested to me the true explanation 
of the phenomenon ; for instead of reading faultily a word in the text, 
he substituted another word of like meaning, but totally different in 
form. The regular train of association being thus interrupted, he 
used to come to a stop if the book was shut, for I could not come to 
his assistance. 

In spite of these failures, I still tried to obtain direct mental sug- 

1. The subject was required to repeat my gestures, made in an 
adjoining room, with the door ajar. These experiments yielded no 
striking result — merely a few coincidences from time to time. 

2. With eyes blindfolded, he was required to come to me, passing 
through several closed rooms. 

This experiment was always successful, but it was necessary to 
inform him in a general way that it was about to be performed. 
Then, always after a delay of several minutes, he would find me. 
Quite evidently he was conscious of my presence as soon as he found 
himself in the same room ; but that was no proof of mental action, 
more particularly because all tests made without previous notice — 
ex improviso- — gave only negative results. 

3. He was required, by touching my hand, to find out the thought 
in my mind. Result : little or nothing, though there were a few 

I account for a certain number of coincidences as follows : 

1. He and I were comrades, living together under the same condi- 
tions, and not seldom did it happen that we had the same thoughts 

2. The gestures that were repeated at a distance were customary 


gestures and attitudes, which are very few and which might easily have 
been guessed at random. 1 remember, for instance, having begun the 
experiments by an order "to raise the right arm." Now this is the 
first thought that occurs to one who wishes to experiment on mental 
suggestion, just as when one would prove free will one usually strikes 
the table with the fist, saying " I can strike or not strike." 

As the subject did raise the right arm, but did not carry out the 
orders that followed, I had the right to judge that simultaneously, 
though independently, he had the same thought that I had. Be it 
added that he was notified in advance that he was to perform certain 
movements mentally ordered by me. 

In 1869 I renewed these experiments at Warsaw with an Italian 
lady said to be " lucid," and whose performances were much talked 
about. One thing remarkable about her was the almost total insensi- 
bility of the pupils of her eyes to light, in the state of general con- 
tracture. Having endormed her and applied tests, I was surprised to 
observe the very great facility with which she recounted her som- 
nambulic dreams ; it was indeed a pleasure to hear them. As for 
" lucidity," or clairvoyance properly so-called, it was very obscure, 
and not even once did I succeed in arresting the tide of her eloquence 
by a mental order. 

Further on it will be seen that in the state of active somnambulism, 
when the somnambule talks much of herself, mental suggestion is not 

The same year I made also some " spiritist " experiments, which 
have a bearing upon our subject. 

They came about in this way : A sober-minded man one day 
attended a table-turning seance. Seeing the infatuation and the 
ready enthusiasm of the company, as they amused themselves with 
unconsciously pushing the table, "I will believe in the spirits," he 
said, "if they tell me the forename of my grandfather." 

He was himself advanced in years, and was confident that no one 
in the company knew his grandfather's name. 

" It may be that the spirits themselves do not know it," gravely 
remarked a spiritist who was managing the experiments ; " but if you 
concentrate your thoughts upon the name, which you alone know, 
they will be able to tell it you." 

Some one recited the alphabet, and the knocks on the table when 
the corresponding letters were pronounced made up the fore-name 
" Adalbert " — the correct name. 

" This is diabolism," said the serious-minded one, and he vowed to 
himself that never again would he witness the doings of spiritists. 

When he told me the story, I was justified in supposing the case to 
be one of mental suggestion. As I did not believe in the spirits, I 


must needs resign myself to this latter hypothesis, or else adopt the 
hardly probable explanation that it was all mere chance. Neverthe- 
less, considering the complexity of this kind of experiments, and the 
probability of some sort of illusion, I decided to accept nothing save 
what should be proved by an experiment to be made by myself under 
well-known and clearly-defined conditions. 

Soon an opportunity was offered to apply the test. 

Of the five persons (young women mostly) seated round the table, 
none, as I was assured by all, knew the name of the grandmother ot 
a certain aged lady, who took no part in the experiment. That name 
was spelled out. But on investigation I found that one of the girls 
that turned the table must often have heard the name pronounced ; 
she herself admitted to me' that in the course of the seance she had 
recollected the name, which a few minutes before she believed she 
had never known. 

That sufficed to justify belief in a more or less involuntary in- 
fluence of her muscles. 

I then thought of a purely fictitious name known to myself alone. 

The table answered with another name having no resemblance 
whatever to the one in my mind. I pretended to write a word on a 
bit of paper. The answer of the table was " louche " — a word that 
no one had thought of. This showed that the unconscious imagina- 
tion of the mediums was bound to go astray when it was not guided 
by some sort of suggestion. 

Let us pass to another experiment. Before coming, I had prepared 
a photograph of one of my friends, putting it in a sealed envelope. 

" What is in this envelope ? Is it a letter, a bank note, or a photo- 
graph ?" (I give the question verbatim, according to my notes.) 

" It is a photograph." 

" Of a man or of a woman ? " 

" A man." ■ 

" How old ?" 

The table gave 23 knocks, which was correct. The believers were 
delighted ; but on reflection, after recalling all the circumstances, I 
was unable to agree with them. 

First, the probability of the correct answer being made was very 
great — for the first question, 1 to 3 ; for the second, 1 to 2 ; as for 
the third question, the probability there was considerably less, but — 
I had made a slip which no doubt decided the result. For when the 
table, after giving 23 knocks, stopped for a moment, I hastily ex- 
claimed " That's it ! " But before coming to the twenty-third knock 
the table had stopped now and then, and I had said nothing. The 
impression left upon my mind was that had the knocking not been 
stopped by my exclamation, the table almost of a certainty would 
have kept on knocking. 


Next, I noticed that the envelope showed pretty plainly the shape 
of a photograph card, slightly curved, and manifestly stiffer than a 
letter or a bank note. 

Finally — and this is a point rtot easy to make plain — I felt dis- 
tinctly that in that company, and under the conditions given, a pho- 
tograph of a man was much rather to be expected than the pho- 
tograph of a woman. 

Hence this was a case of suggestion by conjecture, and perhaps a 
matter of chance. 

Here is another instance of apparent success : 

I request a lady, not of the mediums' set, to pass to ^another room, 
to write some number on a bit of paper, and not to show it to any one. 

Upon her return, I ask the table : 

" How many figures are there ? " 


"What is the first?" I then name all the numbers, zero included, 
but the table makes no sign. I begin again : 

" Is it one ? " 

"Yes." (It had been agreed with the "spirits" that one knock 
was to mean yes, two knocks no.) 

" And the second figure ? " 

The table gave 6 knocks. But we had hardly come to the sixth 
when the lady exclaimed : " It is astonishing ; I wrote 16 ! " 

I must add that she could not decide what number to choose. " Must 
I write one figure or two ? " she asked of me before quitting the room. 

" Any number at all," I replied, " one of two or three figures, for 
instance." Thus the suggestion of two figures was given by inadver- 

We began again, and this time under stringent conditions. I alone 
knew the number, and I wrote 4 ; the table guessed 346. 

In 1872 a young German lady of high sensibility and delicate con- 
stitution, subject to hysterical fainting fits, suggested to me the 
thought of a new trial. I had made a series of observations upon her 
pulse changes in various phases of somnambulism. But in her case 
the psychic phenomena were of little moment, while mental suggestion 
would not work at all. 

I will pass over a multitude of experiments made with persons in 
the waking state unbeknown to them — making a person, whose back 
is toward you, turn about when you order him to look at you. These 
experiments have now and then been successful, but never under 
stringent conditions. Once, however, the appearances surprised me a 
good deal. I was in a ballroom. A young woman attracted my 
attention by her peculiarities of feature ; so I often looked toward 


her, and fancied that whenever my gaze was fixed upon her for any 
length of time, she would turn her head and look in the direction of 
me. Still she could not see me. To verify the phenomenon, I chose 
a less favorable moment and succeeded. I tried once again, and the 
success was the same. Then, being in an adjoining room, I said to a 
friend : " Let us make a curious experiment. Do you see that girl 
in the corner of the ballroom? I will make her come hither." A 
minute afterward the young lady rose, entered the room, remained for 
a moment undecided, cast a look of interrogation upon us, and then 
went back to the ballroom. 

I made her acquaintance a few weeks later. On being tested with 
the hypnoscope * she presented only a slight numbness of the finger. 
She was rather hard to endorm (15 minutes), and the sleep was very 
light and was soon over. No experiment in mental suggestion was suc- 

Was it then an illusion ? I believe it was. 

Having reflected upon the case, after making the acquaintance of 
the subject, I interpreted quite differently my prior successes. In the 
first place, it was nothing surprising that she turned her head while I 
was looking at her, for having heard of me, she wished to make my 
acquaintance ; and it is even probable that, through a very common 
illusion, I fancied that I had first noticed her " because of her pecu- 
liarities of feature," whereas, in fact, she had for a good while been 
observing me, and so had, unconsciously, perhaps, given direction 
first to my attention and then to my experiments. 

This incident gave me a disgust for mental suggestion, and many 
remarkable subjects came under my hands without awakening any 
desire to test with them the transmission of thought. 

I recall another discouraging circumstance : 

I went to an " extraordinary " exhibition given by a certain 
" Vicomte de Caston," who performed feats of memory and praesti- 
giation, improvised verses, read without the aid of the eyes, and 
divined thoughts. ■ The seance was highly interesting to the psycholo- 
gist. I say nothing of tricks of the common sort; albeit here, I am 
free to say, is a study that I heartily commend to every psychologist 
who is curious about hypnotism in general and mental suggestion in 
particular. Sleight-of-hand is the result of an ingenious application 
of the psychology of attention, 2 involuntary associations, illusion, 
and reflex movements, rather than of psychic power. In hypnotism 

1 This is the name I have given to a peculiarly shaped magnet, which, applied to a 
finger, serves to show one's hypnotic sensibility. With few exceptions, this instrument 
always gives positive results, and it is very convenient for use, for its application lasts 
only two minutes. (See Appendix I.) 

2 See the remarkable work of Ribot bearing that title (Humboldt Library, No. 112). 
— Translator . 


the great praestigiator is Hartmann's Unconscious : if one is not to be 
its dupe, one must be " up to its tricks." 

But among the performances of this " vicornte " the thing worthy 
of mention here was a series of tricks grounded solely on the associa- 
tion of ideas? We know how easy it is, by a very simple ruse, to 
make a person select a given card from among many. You have only 
to exhibit before his eyes the cards of the pack, one after another, 
rapidly, but in such a way that only one shall be fully and distinctly 
visible. You thus trick the subject's vision, and he selects the sug- 
gested card as a matter of course. Our psychologic praestigiator had 
developed this method, applying it to operations purely mental. 
Having in readiness a certain number of envelopes, sealed and con- 
taining a word written beforehand, such as " rose," " diamond," 
" negro," he opened a lively conversation with the audience. Dis- 
coursing de omnibus rebus et quibusdam aliis, he would stop just at the 
moment when the most direct and the most inevitable association 
was with one of the predetermined ideas. Then by a clever detour 
he came round again to the same association, which he never expressed t 
and suddenly asked a person he deemed to be absorbed in the per- 
formance, to think of some object. 

The object thought of was always the one suggested. 

All he had to do now was to ask to which of the three kingdoms, 
mineral, vegetal, or animal, the object belonged, to insure success, 
and to prove to the person interested that his thought had been 
written down by itself in a sealed letter. 

As the experiment just described is but a conscious utilization of a 
mental process that is daily and hourly repeated in ordinary life, it 
follows that in very many cases the psychic atmosphere of a company 
suffices to account for unexpected coincidences of thought between 
the experimenter and his subjects — coincidences all the more surpris- 
ing the less one knows about the unconscious mechanism of these 
suggestions, mental suggestions, if you please, though they have 
nothing to do with thought-transference. Ever since that time I have 
held that in a successful experiment in mental suggestion there are 
always two questions to be settled. The question, How did the sub- 
ject divine the thought ? is but the second ; while the first is, How 
came the experimenter to Ghoose one thought rather than another ? 
We can judge of the scientific value of an experiment only according 
to the intimate relation between these two processes. 

Whenever several persons hold a conversation for any length of 
time, there arises between their minds a reciprocal enchainment. A 
clever observer has then but to isolate himself from this involuntary 
mechanism and to grasp it mentally in a general view, and then 

'See "Diseases of Memory," by Ribot, (Humboldt Library, No. 46).— Trans- 


sometimes he can foresee the object that some moments later will 
occupy the attention of the company. It is this same mechanism 
that often causes two persons in a company to express the same 
thought or to raise the same question. The better one knows those 
about him, the greater his success in this psychic "clairvoyance." I 
remember how once, being secretary of a society, the object of which 
was the publication of an encyclopaedia of the sciences, I wrote in 
advance the notes of one of our meetings. The question before the 
society was whether theology should be reckoned among the sciences, 
that were to be treated. There were two priests on the committee. 
Knowing the members and their views, I risked the experiment. The 
■" minutes " were written out ; they gave an account of the general 
discussion, and closed with this resolution : " Resolved, that theology 
ought not to be treated, save as constituting a part of the history of 
religions." I had to change only a few words in order to submit the 
minutes to the members for approval. 

Of course, one cannot be so good a prophet unless he is in some 
degree an accomplice ; but one is always an accomplice when one 
orders the carrying out of a thought that comes to us mechanically. 
For instance, you are a frequent visitor at a house. You do not 
recollect the fact that at your last visit the conversation was about 
colonial policy, and that immediately after it was over a lady sat 
down at the piano. The talk is now again about colonial policy, and 
the thought occurs to you to make an experiment in mental sugges- 
tion. So you order (mentally) the lady to go to the piano — and she 
goes. You are amazed at your success — all the more because you 
see no connection whatever between colonial policy and a piece of 
piano music, and because your chum assures you in all sincerity that 
in some quite inexplicable way the idea came suddenly to him to take 
a seat at the piano. 

We may utilize this unconscious process with deliberate purpose : 
My friend P., a man no less absent-minded than he is keen of intel- 
lect, was playing- chess in a neighboring room. Others of us were 
talking near the door. I had made the remark that it was my friend's 
habit, when he paid closest attention to the game, to whistle an air 
from " Madame Angot." I was about to accompany him by beating 
time on the table. But this time he whistled something else — the 
march from " Le Prophete." 

" Listen," said I to my associates ; " we are going to play a trick 
upon P. We will mentally order him to pass from ' Le Prophete ' to 
' La Fille de Madame Angot.' " 

First I began to drum the march; then, profiting by some notes 
common to both, I passed quickly to the quicker and more staccato 
measure of my friend's favorite air. P., on his part also suddenly 
changed the air and began to whistle " Madame Angot." 



Every one burst out laughing. My friend was too much absorbed 
in a check to the queen to notice anything. 

''Let us begin again," said I, "and go back to ' Le Prophete." 
And straightway we had Meyerbeer once more with a special fugue. 

My friend knew that he had whistled something, but that was all 
he knew. 

One who knows a person's habits can sometimes imitate mentai 
suggestion, even without any suggestive impression. 

In the Medical Faculty of X., we had a professor of philosophy, 
who, in giving his lectures used to look first to the right, then to the 
middle of the room, then to the left, again to the right, and so on, 
with the regularity of a pendulum. In this little habit there was 
nothing offensive to any one, and it had passed unnoticed. One day 
he was proving to us the psychic liberty of man. 

" You will soon see his freedom of will," said I in pleasantry to my 
fellow students. So extending a finger, I began to give orders for the 
movements his head was to make to the right, the middle, the left. 

Do not think that this anecdote has no bearing upon our subject. 
Of course, the thing was but a piece of pleasantry ; but had it been 
taken seriously it would have been a deception. Now, in hypnotism, 
physiologists are liable to just such deceptions, involuntarily, if while 
understanding well how to observe external facts, they do not know 
how to observe their own selves. Here is an instance of this from my 
own experience : it comes fully within the class of apparent suggestions. 

I was treating by hypnotism an elderly lady suffering from chronic 
arthritic rheumatism. I put her asleep very readily, and absolute 
repose of half an hour (aideic 1 state) always sufficed to calm her 
nerves, and to improve her natural sleep, at least for a few days. 
There was no means of producing somnambulism, properly so-called, 
or of making the subject talk {polyideic 1 state), so I left her, and 
occupied myself with turning over the leaves of a book, and awaiting 
the time of her awaking. One day I thought I should awaken her by 
a mental order. "Awake," said I to her mentally, and at once there 
were contractions of the face muscles ; the eyes opened, and she was 

Some days afterward I tried to make her perform certain move- 
ments, but in vain ; but I succeeded in awakening the subject as 
before, though not so promptly. Still, it was a surprise. But why did 
she awake, and yet prove insensible to other suggestions ? 

The reason was this : Here were two habitudes that had passed 
unnoticed. Continuing the treatment for several weeks, I had fallen 
into the habit of awakening her just half an hour after sleep had 

1 Aideic (Greek, a, privative ; idea, idea, thought), without thoughts. Polyideic 
(Greek, polys, pi. polloi, much, many ; idea, thought), with many thoughts. Monoideic 
(Greek, memos, single ; idea, thought), with one thought — Translator. 


become manifest. I did not look at my watch, but went always at 
the fixed time ; and as that was one hour before dinner, my stomach 
took the place of my watch perfectly. 

The patient too had acquired the habit of waking almost precisely 
on the minute — a phenomenon familiar to magnetizers. This does not 
happen in every case, but it does happen very often. 

This suspicion occurring to me, I resolved to find out whether it 
was correct. I readily found 

1. That I was unable to awaken her " mentally " 10, 15, or 20 min- 
utes after she was sound asleep. 

2. That she always awoke of herself after 30 or 35 minutes, without 
any mental suggestion. 

Thus we were in just the condition of our anecdote, except that in 
the one case the cause of the coincidence was known from the first, 
in the other it was not. 

In 1881 I attended, in Lemberg, the magnetic seances given in that 
city by Donato. Among his performances was one which, though not 
presented as an instance of mental suggestion, nevertheless wore all 
the appearances of one. Miss Lucile, who was blindfolded, remained 
upon the stage, seated, while Donato went among the audience and 
invited persons to name to him, in a whisper, a certain number of acts 
for the somnambule to perform afterward. For instance, to fan her- 
self with Mrs. N's fan ; to spread Mr. X's opera hat and put it on his 
head ; to take Mrs. Y's bracelet and put it on the arm of Miss Z, and 
so on. It is to be remembered that the choice of acts to be done is 
very restricted, the same thing pretty nearly all the time, yet there 
was no trickery ; thepsychic atmosphere played its own part. 

Donato, having received the requests that were made, led Miss 
Lucile toward the audience, and without speaking a word, solely with 
the aid of gestures made at the distance of one or two paces from her, 
then nearer, he conducted the " medium " to the persons in question, 
and she performed perfectly every act that had been requested. 

This experiment made a deep impression, for it was evident that 
there was neitherany understanding with the subject nor any collusion 
with the audience. 

How was Miss Lucile able to perform these interesting, feats ? 

" By magnetic education " was the magnetizer's answer. It was 
vague, and yet true. 

There exists in magnetism a phenomenon little studied by hypno- 
tizers — that of magnetic attraction, so-called. It is enough to bring 
the hand near the arm of the endormed subject : at once that arm 
goes out in the direction of the hand and follows all its movements. 
Though the magnet produces the same phenomenon, one must not 
suffer himself to be deceived by the analogy. This attraction has 



nothing in common with the attraction of iron by the magnet ; it is 
not of a physical kind, but of the reflex order. 

But that is a distinct question, which we need not touch at present. 
The important point, the one that has to do with the matter in hand, 
is that this faculty, possessed by very many somnambules, may be 
cultivated and improved by magnetic education. Little by little the 
subject becomes sensible to various attractions, and if to the automatic 
attractions there be added quick understanding of gestures, then the 
subject possesses everything that is needed for a marvelously perfect 
simulation of thought-transference. 

At first the subject is influenced only from anear, and can under- 
stand only simple movements ; later he grows accustomed to his mag- 
netizer's ways, comprehends his inchoate gestures, and an automatic 
association is formed between the almost unnoticeable directions of the 
experimenter and certain reflex, or even voluntary, movements of the 

Thus was Miss Lucile able to execute the unspoken orders of 

There is another and much simpler way of simulating mental sug- 
gestion. Donato himself has shown that by making certain motions 
with his fingers at Miss Lucile's ear, he could produce a hyperacusia ' 
sufficient to enable the subject to hear words spoken so low and with 
lip-movements so slight that even persons on the watch for them 
and observing attentively were unable to hear anything. I have re- 
peated this experiment many a time, in one case — to mention no 
others — with a peasant woman of Zakopane in Galicia, who, though 
her ears were plugged and her head wrapt thrice around with a coarse 
thick kerchief, repeated words spoken as low as possible by me at the 
distance of 13 feet. 

Plainly with such a degree of hyperesthesia the subject can : 

1. Hear direct what is spoken in the ear of the magnetizer ; 

Or, 2, hear what later he whispers into her ear, unheard by the by- 

Donato kindly held for my behoof a private seance, at which I had 
an opportunity once more to experiment on mental suggestion. The 
magnetizer himself expressed some doubts upon that head. The 
phenomenon he believed possible, and he had once demonstrated it 
in the presence of Mr. Arkasof ; but according to him the experiment 
is but seldom successful — how, no one knows ; in most cases it mis- 
carries — why, no one can tell. 

We made the attempt, nevertheless. 

Miss Lucile stood with her back toward us; I was on the right of 
the magnetizer, between 6 and 7 feet from the subject. The latter 

'Hyperacusia: Greek, hyper, over; akoue, hearing. A super-sensibility of the 
sense of hearing. — Translator. 


was to exteyid the left arm. After a minute there were some slight 
movements of that arm, or rather of the whole body — movements 
that may have been produced by the subject's fatigue, and may have 
had no relation to the intentions of the magnetizer. This was readily 
admitted by Donate " I should be more sure of a result," said he to 
me, "if you would allow me to act by gestures." But that was not 
the question; undoubtedly, he could, acting by attraction, cause the 
the arm to be extended. 

Other attempts had no better result, whether it was I that gave the 
order after endorming the subject, or whether it was Donato himself. 
I simply proved again what I had already proved with one of my first 
subjects, to wit : the subject's power cf recognizing the person that 
touches her on the back (through the clothing). When Donato en- 
dormed her, a touch from me caused her pain ; the contrary was the 
case when I myself magnetized her, but she always bore more easily 
the touch of her customary magnetizer. 

Care was taken that the subject should not be able to tell who 
touched her, except from the mere act of simple, slight contact. 

This phenomenon I have since verified in nearly all highly-sensitive 
subjects, when magnetized (not hypnotized), and so I have been obliged 
to postulate an individual physical action not found in Braid's hyp- 

This physical action is a matter of no slight importance in the 
problem of mental suggestion, as will be seen later, but evidently the 
one does not imply the other. 

Notwithstanding this evolution of my views, I was still far from 
believing in thought-transference. On the contrary, the foregoing 
attempts discouraged me, bringing to light the full complexity of the 
question and all the causes of error. 

One thing I had learned, to wit : that a skillful magnetizer who 
has a suitably trained subject, can imitate mental suggestion per- 
fectly, or may himself be duped by unconscious associations. Wit- 
nesses in relating the performance, transfigure it, embellish it invol- 
untarily, in virtue of the psychic faculty — of great value in art, but 
highly dangerous in science — which has been called " complementary 
imagination." ' 

By omitting details that seem insignificant, and magnifying others 
that seem essential to the understanding of the situation, one makes 
up in his own mind an experimental " demonstration " that in reality 
demonstrates nothing but one's own personal enthusiasm. If in nar- 
rating the facts for the first time one adapts them just a little " in 
usum Delphini" 3 one will recount them the second time pretty nearly 

1 Fantaisie compUmentaire . 

2 A famous annotated edition of the Latin classics was prepared in the reign of 
Louis XIV., " for the Dauphin's use" — in usum Delphini. — Translator. 


as at the first, and the third pretty nearly as at the second ; slight 
modifications then go on accumulating and little details drop out. 
Thus, persons little used to strict scientific method in the end will, in 
all sincerity, tell of things that never were. A scientific man will not 
go so far as this, yet he may easily permit himself to be fascinated by 
a novel and unexpected impression received under conditions that 
either cannot be, or that at least have not been, ascertained with pre- 
cision. That is enough to lead to an erroneous interpretation, which 
may go so far as to assert the existence of a new phenomenon that 
does not exist at all. Lest I should be accused of exaggeration I give 
an example : 

Mr. Hughes, inventor of the microphone, the printing telegraph, 
etc., a noted physicist and thinker, believed it to be demonstrated at 
the beginning of his researches that the microphone increases the 
intensity of sounds. That was an error of interpretation, caused by 
certain illusive effects. No microphone has ever amplified the inten- 
sity of speech, or of sounds in general ; on the contrary there is always 
a notable reduction of the intensity. How comes the error, then ? 
From the failure to distinguish between the sounds and the mechani- 
cal vibrations accompanying them. The microphone makes audible 
the tread of a fly over a thin planchette, but not because it amplifies 
the sound — which, indeed, is imperceptible directly — but because it 
transforms into sounds the mechanical vibrations of the fly's tread. 
Place near the planchette a watch that makes a far louder sound, and 
you will hear nothing ; but set it upon the planchette of the micro- 
phone, and you will hear the ticking through the telephone a great 
deal better than you can directly, because in the latter case the 
mechanical vibrations are transformed into sounds, and these are 
added to the real sounds. Now, this error of interpretation has cir- 
culated so widely that even to-day you will find it asserted in works 
on physics that sounds are amplified by the microphone — in other 
words, a fact is said to exist that has no existence at all. 

The case is often much the same with regard to mental suggestion. 
It is not the evidence for the naked fact that is at fault, but the inter- 
pretation of the fact — the determination of the causal relation between 
two phenomena that in themselves are verified easily enough. The 
thought of one brain is succeeded by a like thought of another like 
brain : is the case here like that when two telephones influence each 
other by the aid of undulatory currents ? or are the conditions like 
those of the two watches supposed by Leibnitz, which, while indicat- 
ing the same hour, were mutually independent ? That is the question. 
And it must be added that between these two extreme situations there 
is plenty of room for an intermediate state of some complexity ; for 
while independent in their mechanism, the two watches may be imper- 
ceptibly regulated electrically or pneumatically. Have the physicians 


who like Barrier, Teste, Bertrand, Charpignon, Garcin, Despine, et al. y 
vouch for us the reality of thought transference — have they seen an 
actual transmission ? They have seen only two watches that some- 
times indicate the same hour. I was therefore justified in regarding 
their testimony as insufficient, and that for still another reason : 

In order to judge aright of such a fact as this, one must of neces- 
sity have in mind the suggestion theory of hypnotism ; one must ever 
remember that all hypnotic phenomena whatever maybe produced by 
imagination alone, by ideoplasty. 1 Consequently, to make out a case ' 
of somnambulism produced from a distance, for example, it is not 
enough simply to verify the fact ; we must furthermore have absolute 
certitude that it has not been'possible for the subject by a combina- 
tion of the circumstances or by the behavior of the person whose 
business is to observe him, to presume what the experiment is to be. 
Further, this presumption itself may be unconscious even while it brings 
about the desired result. On this point my hypnotic studies leave no 
doubt. In fact, even when the subject has anticipated nothing, when 
he declares that he has suspected nothing, one is not free from uncer- 
tainties. Hence, notwithstanding all that has been published by the 
priest Faria, by Henin, Cuvillier, Bertrand, Braid, Durand, Gros, 
Morin, Szokalski, and Liebeault, the theory of suggestion was really 
not known and recognized till the publication of Dr. Bernheim's 
ingenious work. At one time the action of "magnetic currents" in 
space was found to be comprehensible, but it was held to be improba- 
ble that somnambulism might be produced by means of a letter (not 
magnetized) fixing the experiment for a given hour. The subject fell 
asleep a few minutes after a concentration of will at a distance, there- 
fore it was the thought of the magnetizer and the " magnetic fluid," 
its agent, that produced the somnambulism ; post hoc, ergo propter hoc. 

For a long time these doubts seemed to me sufficient to withhold 
me from new experiments. But one always returns to his first love. 

While giving at. the University of Lemberg (i875-'8i) a course of 
lectures on physiological psychology, I studied the different questions 
of hypnotism a .good deal. Many of my students willingly offered 
themselves for all sorts of researches, and then it was that I began to 
see my way a little better in this mysterious region. One day I 
brought together six of my best subjects in a hall of the Polytechnic 
School, from which every ray of light was excluded, in order to test 
the alleged discoveries of Baron Reichenbach. 2 We remained three 

1 Ochorowicz, Stir I'id/oplastie: classification des faits; et sur la thforie de Tide'oplastie 
(Comptes rendus de la Socie'te' de biologie). Ideoplasty (Greek, idea, idea, mental image; 

plattein or plassein, to shape, whence plastes, modeler), imagination, or the power of 
conceiving, or forming, mental images. See Appendices II., III. — Translate?'. 

2 Reichenbach asserted that the " ^influence " of a magnetizer upon his subject is 
manifested in a dark chamber by luminous rays emanating from him. — Translator. 


hours in absolute darkness, yet were unable to verify any of the 
statements of the German chemist. But to make amends, we discovered 
a new fact of considerable interest, namely, that certain hypnotizable 
subjects see far more distinctly the phosphorescence of an electric 
machine than do other persons. Threads of light, quite invisible to 
the rest of us, and forming a prolongation of the visible rays, were 
described perfectly by some of the subjects, and were objectively veri- 
fied in divers ways. 

I chose two of these subjects for an experiment in mental sug- 
gestion. The first, a youth of good stature and remarkably muscular, 
in good health, but highly sensitive to hypnotism (hypnoscope showed : 
irritation, anaesthesis, contracture) presented this peculiarity, that it 
was impossible to produce in him an hallucination or any word-sug- 
gestion whatever. Endormed by fixing the gaze, or by other equiva- 
lent means, he showed a general contracture and, psychically, a state of 
complete aideism (tetanic aideia). To make him talk, it was necessary 
to free the speech muscles, which were all contractured ; and once a 
reply was obtained, he did not fall asleep any more ; a certain dizziness 
and a general contracture alone remained. It was possible to awaken 
one hemisphere alone, and one-half of the body, but somnambulism 
could not be produced. He passed straight from the " lethargic " state 
to waking ; but in waking, as well as in the lethargy, it was possible 
to produce by localized passes, insensibility, hyperesthesia, attraction, 
catalepsy and contractures, but hallucination never. So pronounced 
was the neuromuscular hyperesthesia, that to produce a local contrac- 
tion or contracture one had only to bring near to any part of his body, 
divested of clothing, a finger, a magnet, or to project a ray of light, 
or even to look fixedly upon it. 

If I endeavored to influence him mentally by ordering a movement, 
that movement was not performed, but the member on which I looked 
was seized with contracture. If instead of acting'by look I acted by 
gestures, there was an exceedingly strong attraction of the whole 
body, and he performed all the acts indicated by the attractions, till a 
general contracture obliged him to fall rigid or to stand motionless. 
The rigidity had then to be removed by gentle massage in order to 
continue the experiment. 

This special sensibility was developed little by little. The attraction 
did not manifest itself till the fifth magnetization. (All these experi- 
ments were reported to the Medical Society of Lemberg in 1881.) It 
was proven to my satisfaction that he was capable of being influenced 
by looks — though the experiments were not always successful when 
made extempore j but it was certain, at the same time, that mental 
suggestion by itself alone was always without result ; there was no 
trace of effect. When hypnotized, he obeyed every one ; when mag- 
netized, he followed only hismagnetizer ; the latter alone could awaken 


him, or cause the contracture to disappear, but always by massage, 
passes, gestures, by blowing on the subject, not by a mental order. 
Once or twice only did I succeed, in the state of momentary stupor of 
the brain prior to the awaking, in transmitting to him some physical 
sensations — as a painful puncture, a bitter taste — but even then there 
was uncertainty as to interpretation, and I could not guarantee the 
value of a few successes. 

My other subject was also a young man, tall of stature, but not 
strong ; highly intelligent, rather anaemic and consumptive. He was' 
very sensitive, even too sensitive, to all sorts of impulsions (hypnos- 
cope showed analgesia, instantaneous contracture of the whole arm). 
The application of the hypnoscope at the pit of the stomach produced 
in him a series of peculiar phenomena — sensations, contortions, sharp 
long-drawn cries, and rotary movements of the arms, the head, and 
the whole body. He was remarkable also for somnambulic and 
suggestional dreams of all the senses. 

First Experiment. — The subject, being in somnambulism (polyideic 
state), counts from 1 to 50. His counting was to be interrupted by a 
mental order from a distance. Result : a few coincidences, but in most 
cases the paralysis came too soon — it preceded the mental order : con- 
sequently it had to be regarded as produced by ideoplasty. 

Second Experiment. — I touch the nape of the neck with my finger, 
and mentally order him to arise and go sit on a bed. The subject 
rises partly, slips to the floor, sits down, bows, kneels. One of the 
company, B, an engineer, says it was he that mentally gave him the 
order to kneel. (Probably the slight downward pressure of my finger 
suggested to the subject the idea of sitting on the floor, and then the 
lowliness of his position produced in his mind the image of an attitude 
lowly par excellence and more convenient — that of kneeling ; while at 
the same time, and through a like association, B got the idea of order- 
ing that posture). 

Third Experiment. — No touch and no gesture. The whole company 
think on making him raise the right leg. 

He remains, motionless, but says he wishes to dance. (The resem- 
blance does not suffice to justify a conclusion.) 

Fourth Experiment. — I alone give the mental order. I do not touch 
the subject, but I use gestures, and direct my looks toward the mem- 
ber in question. The subject is blindfolded. I stand in front of him 
at distances of 2, 3, 4 and 6 paces, respectively. 

He performs various motions ; rises, walks to the right, to the left, 
forward, backward (he retreats slowly and with difficulty), kneels, sits. 
I order him to extend the right arm — and he raises the left, that 
being the only act in this experiment that failed ; at that time I was 
distant from the subject six paces. When repeated, without gestures, 
these experiments gave no positive result. Repeated with gestures, 


but without any special concentration of the will, they gave nearly the 
same positive result as at first. 

Fifth Experiment (a few days later). — The subject being in som- 
nambulism, his eyes bandaged, his ears plugged, I stand in front of 
him at a distance of from thirteen to sixteen feet, and make gestures 
of attraction and repulsion. 

For more than an hour all the tests of this fifth experiment were 
successful. The principal one was to determine whether the subject 
really had a sense of my presence. I therefore hid in remote corners, 
while I attracted him toward me. I took all possible care to make 
no noise. I changed my foot-gear ; another person imitated my tread. I 
tried to lead the subject astray by speech, etc.; he followed me every- 
where and found me always. In coming toward me he sniffed like a 
hunting dog (of all the persons present I was the only smoker, and my 
clothing was impregnated by the odor of tobacco). 

Result : the subject was guided : 

i. By an exceptional sensibility of the whole surface of his body 
for motions of the air (gestures at a distance); 

2. By an exceptional sensibility for warmth (he felt the warmth of 
my hand at a distance of thirty inches); 

3. By an exaltation of the sense of smell ; but not at all by mental 

Sixth Experhnent (some days afterward). — The sleep not perfect ; he 
partly recollects after awaking (this, perhaps, because of the emotions 
of the day). Attraction often lacking. 

One of my pupils, P., deceives the subject, who confounds him with 
me. The movements ordered are executed badly. The subject im- 
provises, giving his dreaming fancy a free rein. He performs move- 
ments that no one thought of, while having the appearance of being 
under an influence. General result strictly negative. 

Here is another negative experiment, performed on an hysterical 
young woman of marked sensibility. (Hypnoscope showed paralysis, 
contracture, and total anaesthesia of the finger.) There were two 
magnetizers, Dr. B. and myself. We each touch her on the head 
with a finger, ordering her to seize some object. The only result is 
that she falls asleep, but after a peculiar fashion, for the left half of 
her body is in rapport with me, the right with Dr. B. She hears me 
only through the left ear, and Dr. B. only through the right. So, 
too, with regard to attraction. If I touch the right arm, she has no 
sensation ; it is the same if I touch her with any object, a stick, for 
instance. Looks have no effect, neither has purely mental suggestion. 

Here are some experiments upon " willing." 

We are in the Count D.'s salon. One of the ladies tells me how she 
several times has succeeded in suggesting to her friend one act or 


another by placing her hands upon her shoulders. I make a few 
experiments which are successful, or nearly so. But in this sort of 
performances mental suggestion plays no part. Having studied the 
unconscious muscular movements that cause a table to tip, or a pen- 
dulum to sway, as explained by Chevreul, I knew what to think of 
these phenomena. These involuntary movements suffice to suggest 
directions to the subject, who is thinking of nothing and whose body 
is in unstable equilibrium. Sometimes he divines the rest, that is, 
even acts that cannot be indicated directly. 

Yet one of these experiments surprised me. The Prince C. is 
sitting in an arm-chair — consequently is in a stable position. Two 
ladies kneel before him and fofm a circle by joining hands with him. 
The order is for him to cross his legs and to dangle the right. The 
order was carried out after a few minutes. In this case the explana- 
tion is complex. Involuntary movement of the legs is difficult when 
the subject is in a fixed position, with hands held, as in this instance. 
But first, just because of that position, the legs alone (and the head) 
were free, and hence it is not surprising that after some minutes of 
immobility he should have felt the need of moving his legs, and the 
only thing he could do, in view of the position ot the ladies, was to 
cross them. Then, if only to verify the experiment, the eyes of the 
ladies were sure to turn every moment to the right foot of the Prince, 
who more or less automatically directed his attention to that point. 
The direction of attention toward a given point of the body always 
produces a tendency to movement, and the only convenient move- 
ment was the one he performed. 

I must add that before this he made several movements of the head, 
which were disregarded as " unimportant;" but had one of these 
movements been selected, we should not have waited for the others, 
but should have had the same right to claim a success. 

During the same evening I made still another experiment simulat- 
ing will-action at a distance. Having noticed the sensibility of the 
Countess D. (hypnoscopic experiment : heat, numbness), I stand facing 
her and fix my jgaze upon her for two or three minutes ; then I move 
away, walking backward, and she follows me ; I quicken my pace, 
still backward, and despite the laughter of the company, and though 
she made some opposition, she is obliged to follow. This experiment, 
one now quite familiar through Donato's performances, seems to 
prove a physical action of the will and of the eye. That is not so, 
however. The fixing of the gaze, expectant attention, and emotion 
produce a sort of fascination that may be regarded as an intermittent 
monoideism. Without losing consciousness and will completely, the 
predisposed subject undergoes, from moment to moment, the inhibit- 
ory influence of his own mind ; he is not paralyzed, but is subject to the 
visual suggestions that dominate his will. 


Another experience in " willing " tried by the two ladies with the 
Count P. as subject was unsuccessful, and yet he was a sensitive sub- 
ject (hypnoscopic experiment : prickling, heaviness, anaesthesia). I 
drove a pin into his finger, which had been locally "insensibilized " 
without hypnotization. This proves that the success of this sort of 
experiments is not always in proportion to the sensibility of the sub- 
ject. We shall see further on what are the precise relations between 
hypnotism and Cumberlandism. I modified these tests in experimenting 
upon other persons. 

Mrs. Sch., robust, but anaemic, subject from time to time (under the 
influence of emotions) to cataleptoid hysteric fits (hypnoscopic expe- 
riment : anaesthesia, localized contracture), is, while in the standing 
posture, put in the state of fascination by fixing the gaze. Mental 
order : To pull me by the beard. She slowly raises her hand in the 
direction of my beard, but does not touch it. 

Mrs. A., weak, thin, nervous, but in fair health (hypnoscopic experi- 
ment : no result). Mental order : To embrace Mr. S. She goes in the 
direction of that gentleman and says : "I am to embrace some one." 

Miss R., lymphatic, but in perfectly good health, with little sensi- 
bility (hypnoscopic experiment : prickling, heaviness). Mental order 
(with touch of the hand on the occiput) : 

i. To go to the piano. After a couple of minutes' hesitation, "I 
must play," said she. 

2. To embrace Miss E. After a minute's silence, she says : " I am 
to embrace some one. It is you, Marie. No ; it is you, Edvige." 

3. To guess whether I am thinking of an affirmation or of a nega- 
tion. She exclaims almost immediately, "You are thinking yes." 
The contrary was the fact. 

Barring the last experiment, which might be regarded as the result 
of a mere erroneous conjecture, all the rest seem to indicate a real 
action. But they were not performed under faultless conditions ; the 
subjects were not blindfolded, and the rest of the company, being in 
the secret, may have influenced them by their attitude. At all events, I 
remember distinctly that my individual impression derived from these 
experiments was not decisive. The first two, though more surprising 
than the last, because of- the nature of the injunctions, which could 
not be easily conjectured, were not carried out fully. The others, in 
giving which I touched the subject, left room for doubt, as is always 
the case when that method is employed ; and, besides, the acts 
enjoined on the subject may have been selected under the influence 
of the psychic atmosphere. I remember, for instance, that in the first 
part of the evening on which the last three experiments were made, 
Miss R. was asked to play a piece on the piano and refused. Little 
wonder, then, that when later she had to execute a suggestion, the 
same act came to her mind. 


Then, the number of acts from which a choice has to be made on 
such occasions is very small. Indeed, in a decorous company what is 
there for you to bid a young woman do but to go to the piano, to 
embrace her sister, or the like ? And if the order is merely to seize 
some object or to go to a place indicated, the touch of the hand and 
its involuntary pressures guide the subject very well indeed. I men- 
tion these petty details to show how needful it is to be circumspect 
and attentive in researches of this kind. 

Ik was about this time that, having acquired a certain acquaintance 
with hypnotism, I resolved to apply it to the treatment of diseases. 
The result was surprising, and 'I saw not only that the assertions of 
magnetizers might be true, but also that a rational and methodical 
application would probably lead to the establishment of facts more 
surprising still. To-day we are beginning to take steps in that direc- 
tion, and certainly it is time that, having demoralized a number of 
hysteric subjects, we should restore them to health by the same pro- 

Being absorbed in therapeutic study, I had neglected the problem 
of mental suggestion as apparently of no practical value ; and it was 
only by accident that I had occasion to observe a few more or less 
unexpected phenomena connected with it. For instance, one of my 
patients could always tell, as soon as I touched her, whether my im- 
pressions during the day had been pleasant or disagreeable. She 
suffered from a complicated disease, which I might be tempted to call 
chlorotic ganglionic neurosis, and had been for thirty years bed-rid- 
den. She was excessively impressionable, yet was insensible to hyp- 
notism and to metalloscopy (hypnoscopic experiment : no result). An 
interesting peculiarity was that my hand seemed to her always warm, 
even when it was of much lower temperature than her body. As my 
attitude toward her was always the same, I marveled not a little at 
this faculty of discerning my mental state. But there are a thousand 
ways of guessing such things, as from the expression of the face, or 
from the tone of the voice ; and there is no need to suppose a direct 
transmission. True, she could also tell whether before coming to her 
I had touched any other patient ; but she might have inferred that 
from certain signs of fatigue, or from my coming a little late ; per- 
haps, too, she was aided by olfactory sensations. 

Another patient showed a like gift with regard to the persons who 
were habitually about her. She was hysterical, very easily hypnotiz- 
able (hypnoscopic experiment : anaesthesia and contracture of the 
whole arm), and manifested this aptitude only at the moment of awak- 
ing, i. e., in a state intermediate between somnambulism and the wak- 
ing state. She would then say of her own accord : " Oh ! how weary X 
is of his work ! " " Why is Y so worried ? " " To-day you have more 


hope of curing me, and you are very much pleased. I thank you for 
that," etc. All this she would say before opening her eyes, and often 
without a single suggestive word being spoken. Was there a real 
transmission of states of mind ? I did not think there was. The same 
people were always around her, and she knew them well enough to be 
able to make these prejudgments. But there were a few strange 

Finally, a third patient, a Frenchwoman, knowing hot a word of 
Polish, made apt reply (in somnambulism) to an observation made in 
the latter tongue. There was no analogy between the words. But 
this thing did not occur again, all further experiments in mental 
suggestion having failed, so I set the occurrence down to the account 
of chance. This subject was easily hypnotizable (hypnoscopic ex- 
periment : heaviness, ansesthesia and contracture of the whole arm), 
and often, in the waking state, divined the complaint of a stranger by 
simply touching his hand. 

Having heard of many feats of this sort, I decided myself to in- 
vestigate, so I asked her what disease she found in me ? 

" None ; you are never ill ; a slight congestion when you work toO' 
hard, but otherwise your health is perfect." 

That was the exact truth. As a second test, I took her to one of 
my patients, a woman whose complex malady, though it presented 
lesions clearly characterized, still was not easily recognizable from the 
appearance of the patient. She had formerly had an attack of pneu- 
monia, and there was hepatization of the right lung, chronic inflam- 
mation of the larynx, dorsal hyperesthesia, frequent headache, several 
defects of circulation, dyspepsia, and intermittent general debility. 
Despite all this, the patient, thanks to her exceptional constitution,, 
looked well, and no one would, on first seeing her, suspect her case to 
be so serious. 

The somnambule, after touching the patient's hand, named pretty 
nearly all her maladies. She did not describe the lesions in sufficient 
detail, but with regard to the symptoms her diagnosis was very ac- 
curate. And more accurate still was her capital description of the 
patient's character and of her bad habits. 

" On what do you base your inferences ? " I asked. " Do you think 
that you see the organs that are affected ? " 

" No," she said ; " rather I myself /<?*?/ the symptoms of the disease." 

And, in truth, I have seen her suffer and for a moment present cer- 
tain morbid phenomena of another patient that she examined, but 
whom I did not know. 

Her feeling the symptoms might be explained by ideoplasty, but even 
so, she would have to know them. And here it is that doubt begins. 
The somnambule did know the symptoms. But she was a very well- 
informed midwife, possessing a certain amount of medical knowledge 


and a good deal of experience : hence she might well have had other 
guidance than that of a mystic faculty. After all, one or two experi- 
ments are not enough. On the other hand, however, I must admit 
that the somnambule then saw my patient for the first time ; that dur- 
ing the whole consultation she kept her eyes half-shut, and did not 
attempt to examine the patient according to any of the ordinary 
methods. As for the influence of the imagination in feeling the symp- 
toms, that explanation becomes doubtful from the fact that the som- 
nambule was not suggesUonable at all, whether in the waking state or in 
somnambulism. She passed rapidly out of the aideic state into active 
polyideism, the latter resembling the waking state in all respects, save 
that it presented anaesthesia of the limbs. 

I may cite, in connection with the fact here observed, a passage 
from the report read before the Paris Academy of Medicine, in 183 1, 
by Husson : " We have found a somnambule that told us all the 
symptoms of the illness of three persons." 

Was the case I have described one of mental suggestion ? I alone 
could know the condition of my patient ; the somnambule may have 
read it in my mind. 

This hypothesis did not to me seem admissible, for the reason that 
no voluntary suggestion had been successful ; besides, it is better to 
hold to an explanation of a less extraordinary character — a transmis- 
sion of the symptoms of a disease. 

Is that possible ? I know not. I do not think we can hold with 
certitude the existence of a faculty whereby we directly feel all the 
peculiarities of another's pathological state ; and yet, a Paris physi- 
cian has assured me that not only does he possess that faculty, but 
that he never needs any other means of diagnosis. 

All that I can testify from my own experience is, that there exists 
another sort of nervic transmission, more general and less " circum- 
stantiated ; " ' and this, too, for a long time seemed to me untenable 
and absurd. 

It is a popular belief of very ancient standing, that one may give 
the pain he suffers to another person, or even to an animal. Many a 
case of this kind have I heard of, and many a one more is mentioned 
in the writings of magnetizers and of a few physicians, but I will teil 
only of what I myself have seen and experienced. Here are the con- 
clusions I have reached in my own practice : 

1. The act of magnetizing, even when it is restricted to imposition 
of the hands, is much more exhausting than an act mechanically 

2. This exhaustion is more marked when one magnetizes a sick 
person than when one magnetizes one who is sound. 

3. This nervous exhaustion, which manifests itself by certain 

1 CirconstanciSe. 


special characters, is sometimes accompanied by a transmission 
of pain. 

4. The kinds of pain that are most likely to produce this phenome- 
non are the " fulgurant " pains of the ataxic, rheumatic pains, and 
dorsal hyperesthesia. 

5. Prolonged contact facilitates this phenomenon, which, though 
more rarely, is manifested also as a sequel of magnetization without 

6. The transmission is rarely definite and immediate. Sometimes, 
not often, the pain visits the same part of the body, and this 
occurs particularly when one has to do with several patients, all pre- 
senting the same symptoms. But, as a general rule, it attacks the 
nodi tninoris resistentice, and manifests itself mostly the following 
morning at awaking. 

7. Transmitted pains are always much lighter and of short duration. 

8. Besides pains, certain pathological states, as congestions, cold in 
the head, insomnia, etc., may also be transmitted as a consequence of 
a magnetization. They are easily distinguished from an indisposi- 
tion of spontaneous origin in the magnetizer himself, by their sudden 
appearance and disappearance, as also by their superficial character, 
so to speak. They do not bring with them the other consequences 
that belong to spontaneous pathological states. 

9. The phenomenon is always accompanied by a notable relief to 
the patient whose disease condition is communicated. One might 
say that the nervic equilibrium is established at the expense of another 
organism that is more in equilibrium. 

Hence, holding as I do that there is a more or less general trans- 
mission from the patient to the magnetizer, I cannot deny the possi- 
bility of a more explicit and more detailed transmission from the 
patient to a hypnotizable subject or one made hypersesthesic by the 
methods of artificial somnambulism. 

Two bodies of unequal temperature tend to equalize their tempera- 
ture. Two bodies unequally electrized tend to equalize their elec- 
tricity. Two bodies unequally equilibrated in their nerve functions 
tend to equilibrate those functions. 

Comparison is not demonstration ; yet it brings out an analogy, and 
that helps our ignorance a little. 

And as for thought, does not that correspond also to a nerve state ? 
Undoubtedly; nor have- 1 ever denied the theoretic possibility of 
transmitting a psychic state, any more than I can deny the theoretic 
possibility of transmitting the human voice across the ocean — more 
particularly since a certain lesson in circumspectness I once got my- 
self. In October, 1884, I was still fixed in the belief that, because of 
the radical antagonism existing in the microphone between the sensi- 
bility of its constituent parts and distinctness of utterance, we should 


never succeed in reproducing speech in a loud voice ; and I held that 
a multitude of facts and strictly logical arguments justified that con- 
clusion ; yet in October, 1885, I myself invented the thermomicrophone, 
which reproduces speech in a loud voice. So, then, let us repeat the 
wise remark of Arago, quoted at the beginning of this work, and pro- 
ceed with our investigation. 

Coming to Paris in 1882, I naturally visited everywhere, wherever 
anything relating to hypnotism was to be seen. One day I witnessed 
some hypnotic, experiments at the house of a physician. After exhibit- 
ing all the wonderful feats of an hysterical young woman, duly trained, 
the physician gave me a surprise in the shape of an exhibition of men- 
tal suggestion. The experiment was made in this wise : 

The somnambule having received the (verbal) order to go to the 
end of the room, she went thither, her eyes half shut, with the air of a 
school-boy that knows his lesson perfectly, then stood still, facing us. 
Then the doctor fixing on the subject a look of stern command, " men- 
tally " ordered her to come back toward us (we were standing beside 
her bed). After a few moments of hesitation and impatience, the sub- 
ject came back to us. The doctor turned to me with a smile of 
triumph, as though he were to say, " Isn't that astounding ? " But the 
only thing that astonished me in the matter was the honesty of the 
experimenter, content with so little. 

If when he questioned the subject whether she felt any sensation 
whatever in the legs, and she answered that she did, indeed, feel some- 
thing, he took that as proof that this something was the result of 
"mental suggestion." Of course, these experiments could serve only 
to make me more incredulous. 

With regard to " demonstrative " experiments, repeated for the 
benefit of the curious, I must here lay down a general rule that will, 
perhaps, seem over-rigorous : 

One same experiment in mental suggestion, repeated under the same ex- 
ternal circumstances, has no scientific value. When first made, it may 
possess the^ value of an isolated fact, but it possesses that value no 
longer when it is made a second time in the same way, and under the 
same conditions. Here is an example to show what I mean : 

A curved finger may signify many things, or nothing at all. But if 
you make a somnambule in the state of suggestionable hypnotism 
believe that a parrot is perched on that curved finger, the next time 
you have only to hold the curved finger out toward the subject in the 
same way in order to make her at once see the parrot perched upon 

This phenomenon is possible in the polyideic state : it is inevitable 
in monoideism, for then control is out of the question, and the subject 
does not think, cannot conceive but one single idea, and that idea you 


inculcate directly or indirectly. In the case under consideration it is 
the inseparable association that completes the direct sensation. 

Suppose the somnambule that comes back to where the doctor and 
I are standing, was, in the first instance, moved simply by impatience 
and a wish to return to her couch ; or suppose that there was some 
sort of real action ; these alternative suppositions are of no account 
when the experiment comes to be repeated another day under the 
same conditions. There is already formed a more or less invincible 
■association between the thought of being at the lower end of the 
room, the stern look of the doctor, the expectancy expressed by the 
faces of the lookers-on, and the intention to go to them. 

This remark upon the importance of association by contiguity first, 
and afterward by habit, is very simple, yet it is too often lost sight of. 
I have, indeed, been astonished to see it disregarded by distinguished 
physiologists who have not the knack of psychological observation. 
So general is this disregard that it is become the sole cause of a mul- 
titude of entirely erroneous generalizations, which nevertheless are 
accepted in hypnology as principles. 

For example, there is absolutely no essential relation between 
" open eyes " and catalepsy. Catalepsy can be produced with the 
eyes of the subject open, or half shut, or entirely closed, or in per- 
fect darkness. But catalepsy may be induced by any sudden, lively 
impression that takes the subject by surprise. Suppose the subject 
on lifting his eyes is met by a bright flash of light, contrived before- 
hand by the " impressioner." He suffers the nerve-shock of this 
impression and instantly falls into the hypnotic state of catalepsy, 
and has not time even to close the eyes. That is enough ; there is 
formed an ideorganic 1 association between a sudden opening of the 
eyelids and the organic state of catalepsy. The brain being momen- 
tarily paralyzed, other ideas there are none, and consequently they 
cannot interfere with the forming of this association. 

Lower the eyelids and the limbs grow relaxed : by suppressing the 
first term of the association you cause the other to disappear. If on 
the strength of this experiment you announce as an axiom that "cata- 
lepsy is produced by opening the eyes," or that " the subject in 
catalepsy keeps the eyes wide open," you make a statement that has 
no more value than if you were to say that "in catalepsy the subject 
keeps the eyes always closed," on the strength of another individual 
habit as easily producible. 

To verify the cataleptic state the usual way is to raise the arm of 
the subject : if it falls, he is no longer cataleptic, else the arm would 
have retained the position you gave it. 

Once I tried to produce catalepsy by a mental order, after ascer- 

1 Ideorganic (idea -|- organ) association ; an association between a thought in the 
mind and the action of a bodily organ— Translator. 


taining that the muscles were perfectly lax. Catalepsy appeared : 
the arm stood out from the trunk. I removed the catalepsy, to begin 
again; the arm fell. I mentally ordered the catalepsy to return; 
again it appeared ; and so on. Had I any ground to infer that there 
was real mental action in this case? Not at all! riere is the true 
explanation of the phenomenon : 

When experimenting for the first time upon the subject in question, 
I had produced catalepsy in the arm by lifting it with one hand while 
with the other hand I made a few passes (gentle massage) from above 
downward. It took several minutes to produce the lightness and 
mechanical flexibility of the member which constitute catalepsy. 1 
But by repeating often I reached this result much more speedily ; 
one pass along the arm was enough. 

After this experiment I concluded that not even the one pass was 
necessary ; there had been formed an ideorganic association between 
the act of lifting the arm and the cataleptic state. The one called 
forth the other ; hence my mental suggestion played no part, and 
J produced the catalepsy while trying to find out whether it existed. 

But, you will say, the same movement of the arm a moment ago 
showed a complete relaxation of the muscles ; how, then, is it that 
the same movement suggests at one time simple paralysis (lethargy), 
and at another time the cataleptic state? 

The reason is that the movement is not the same. We lift the arm 
in one way to make it fall, and in another way when we wish to see 
if it will not stand rigid. A slight difference in our state of mind 
suffices to give to our muscles and to our fingers a difference of 
motion and of touch that in hypnotism is quite sufficient to reproduce 
the organic association of catalepsy in one case, and not to reproduce 
it in another. 

Our touch is of one kind when it is entirely without purpose, it is 
another thing when we wish to produce an effect ; of one kind when 
we have no belief in its efficacy, of another when we have unlimited 
confidence. " Will and believe " — but you will then find phenomena 
that do not exist. 

The unconscious, as I have said, is the great praestigiator in hyp- 
notism, and many a trick it plays upon us. But, I must add, it rarely 
does so dishonestly. It is, on the other hand, perfectly docile, and 
never was animal more easily trained than it is. The misfortune is 
that we train it all unconsciously and without appearing to do so. 

Then it is that the unconscious of each of us disports itself in play- 
ing tricks on each other one — and upon ourselves. 

In the two instances just cited, I postulate a really active interme- 
diary — a bright flash of light and a gentle massage — but these are not 
essential ; the unconscious can divine your thoughts without them, 

1 Cette Itlgerete et flexibility me'canique du membre qui constitue la catalepsie. 


provided you remain steadfast in your wish. You lift the subject's 
arm, and it falls ; try again, and the subject will perhaps hesitate, and 
the arm will drop to his side less quickly ; keep on, and probably the 
unconscious will say to itself : " Evidently they want me to maintain 
the posture they give, to the arm. I am willing." And you will get 
your "cataleptic state" without any accessory manipulation. 

It is in this way that certain magnetizers have found a number of 
" polarities " in the human body. I have seen their experiments, 
which are quite convincing : the thumb attracts, the little finger repels, 
and so on. The unconscious having learned its lesson, no longer 
contradicts itself. Yet, if you use a little entreaty — albeit, without 
any words — you will easily obtain the opposite result, and you will 
get any polarity whatsoever, according to whatever fanciful plan you 
may lay out in advance. Three seances are enough to produce a habit 
of re-action. 

(Of course, these remarks do not settle the question of polarity in 
general. Upon that question I do not mean even to touch. I merely 
say that it is possible to inculcate into the subject an imaginary 

Even when you experiment without contact, even when you act 
upon a sleeping person, who, however, has already been magnetized by yon, 
you must be on your guard against unconscious habitudes. 

The possibility of producing somnambulism in a person that is in 
natural sleep, and who has no suspicion of your presence, is often 
cited as proof of fiuidic action, or mental action at a distance. But in 
most cases this, too, is an illusion, and when the experiment is success- 
ful, proves one. thing only, to wit, the force of ideorganic associations. 

You have the habit — perhaps quite unconscious — of disturbing the 
air in front of the subject's face, when you make passes in a peculiar 
way of your own. The subject, or rather his unconscious, divines your 
presence, feels you are there, obeys you ; the association of these im- 
pressions with the organic state of somnambulism produces the som- 
nambulic state. Try some nezu method — one that would have been 
equally effectual in the waking state, because of the conscious sug- 
gestion — and you will obtain no result. 

In purposely employing the principle of association, we come upon 
curious applications of it. You choose whatever link of association 
you please, and connect that with one, two, three, four or more similar 
links, be they ideas, sensations, acts, states or whatever you will. It 
is net necessary that there be any logical relation at all between the 
first link and the ones that follow. 

I once had as a patient an insane woman, fully bent upon suicide, 
but who always very carefully planned in advance the carrying out of 
her projects. In the normal state she never would tell me about them, 
and by degrees she became mistrustful even in somnambulism. The 


monoideic state, which is always characterized by absolute submission, 
it was almost impossible to produce, and the most trivial question 
made her pass straight from the aideic state to active polyideism i in 
which she regained her independence. Still it was necessary to learn 
her secret in order to prevent mischief. To this end I contrived the 
following ruse. Having been in the habit of sitting on the right when- 
ever I talked with her, one day I sat to the left of her, and taking 
advantage of a favorable moment — a sort of visional delirium akin to 
monoideism — I changed my voice slightly, and made answer to her 
raving, taking care to be agreeable to her. The conversation went 
on, and I saw that she did not recognize me, though now she was fully 
in the state of active somnambulism. She began to unbosom herself 
to me, and soon she confided to me her inmost thoughts. 

" But who are you ? " she suddenly asked, " and what right have you 
to question me?" 

" Oh, you know me well. I am your old friend and devoted confid- 
ant for whom you have no secrets. How, have you forgotten Mr. 
Camille, your good Mr. Camille ? " 

"That's a funny name," said she, "but no matter." 
Thenceforth I had only to station myself on her left in order to possess 
her confidence. There I was called Mr. Camille, while on her right 
I was still her "doctor." The thing was understood and there was 
no longer any need for me to change my voice or my position in any 
respect. I was transformed; but at the same time she also under- 
went a transformation, and she was no longer the mistrustful, circum- 
spect person she was before. (She was saved from suicide thrice by 
this ruse.) 

Suppose now that I had wished to give a deceptive demonstration 
of the force of a complex mental suggestion — changing my personal- 
ity in the mind of the subject, without a gesture, without a word; 
changing my name ; changing her attitude, her feeling toward me; 
" mentally " ordering her to confide in me. 

To perform that marvel, all I should need to do would be to stand 
on the left of her. 

Well, these things happen involuntarily through ignorance of the 
mysteries of association. We believe ourselves to be candid observers, 
the while we are unconsciously suggesting the phenomenon that is to 
be verified. Thus it is that the somnambulic subjects of the " fluidist " 
magnetizer see the fluid emanating from his finger-tips, while the 
somnambules of the hypnotizer see nothing, and those of the spiritist 
discover spirits everywhere, the same being invisible for the somnam- 
bules of the materialist. So it is, once more, that " pressure on the 
top of the head " produces, at Paris, the " somnambulic ; " at Breslau, 
the " lethargic " state ; at Manchester, " religious ecstasy," and so on. 
It is all "the story of Mr. Camille!" 


Robert-Houdin long ago contrived a means of imitating " second 
sight." He trained his assistant — who played the part of the medium 
— so readily to understand his questions, that the latter always " saw '' 
from a distance objects held in the hand, even when the hand was 
closed. If the question was " What do you see ? " it was a coin. The 
question " What do you see now ? " indicated a gold coin, and so on. 
Robert-Houdin could even convey to his subject, " mentally," the 
number of a bank-note simply by means of questions, the secret import 
of which was understood between them. 

One often imitates this trick unconsciously when one, in thinking of 
a given phenomenon, has the habit of questioning the subject always 
after the same fashion. 

Sometimes habit even is unnecessary, and one succeeds ex tempore, 
even in the waking state. I have often made the following experiment : 
I lay a walking-stick on the ground, and say to a person that is 
hypnotizable, though not hypnotized : " Pass this limit if you please." 
The subject does so. " Once again ! " He steps over the cane 
hesitatingly, and looks at me with mistrust. "And again!" He 
stands stock-still quite unable to step over the cane ; his legs refuse 
to carry him. 

Did I say that this was going to happen ? No ! Did I make any 
gesture whatever ? No ! I simply willed and believed. Then it is a 
case of mental suggestion ? By no means — only, a suggestion guessed. 

Cumberland, the famous "mind-reader," came to Paris in 1884. It 
will be readily understood that, after having made the experiments 
already described, I could not be under any illusions with regard to 
the apparent thought-transference exhibited by him. Mental sug- 
gestion has nothing to do with his performances, but it is interesting 
and highly instructive to read the first reports of the newspapers. 
There we may see the difference between the experiments as per- 
formed, and as described, even when the performances are described 
by scientific chroniclers. There, too, we learn how small is the value 
of testimony when there is a question of a new and unknown 

Having clearly perceived that the true medium in these perform- 
ances was he who " thought,"- not he who guessed, I repeated Cum- 
berland's experiments, and I published a series of articles on the 
subject in the Gazeta Polska ("Polish Gazette"), in May, 1884. 
Since that time the matter has been sufficiently eiuc'datedin France, 
by the researches of Messrs. Gley and Ch. Richet, and I have only to 
formulate my own observations in order to complete theirs, without 
recounting the experiments in detail. 

It is certain, then, that every thought having any relation whatever 
to space tends to produce unconscious movements indicating such 
relations. That is a habit, a nerve mechanism, in part hereditary, in 


part acquired. In the case of an object hidden (to be found by the 
" mind-reader "), or of a person chosen (whom the mind-reader is to 
point out), one is thinking of the place where the object or the per- 
son is, and one simply leads the mind reader who holds one's hand. 
One needs only to practice for one evening to perform the feats of 
the famous mind-reader ; for notwithstanding all the extravagant 
stories that have been published about the matter, it does not even 
involve any special fineness of touch, no nice perception of pulse- 
changes or of imperceptible vibrations. One must be able to go whitUer 
one is led ; that is all. The comic side of the thing is that one has not 
the slightest suspicion of what one is doing, and that people pay 
twenty francs to see a person point out an object they themselves 
have hidden. The melancholy side, on the other hand, is that our 
contempt for the " occult sciences " has rendered us ignorant of 
highly remarkable and highly instructive physiological phenomena, 
to that degree that we stupidly cry " Fraud ! " when some simple, 
common fact is shown to us that ought long ago to have been studied 
and ascertained. 

It has been necessary for a bold professional to traverse all Europe, 
playing tricks upon diplomats and princes of blood royal, in order to 
make science take account of the relations between " the physical 
and the moral." And it was the same with hypnotism, which would 
to this day not have been recognized by science had it not been for 
the public exhibitions given by Donato and Hansen. 

In these experiments the one who leads you knows not what he is 
doing, the while thinking himself quite master of himself. I have 
known a very intelligent and highly educated lady with whom I could 
find a needle in a haystack. She would lead me with such certainty 
and with such force that resistance was out of the question. Once a 
little note was hid under a flowerpot. She indicated to me the 
flowerpot, and I began to feel about within it ; then, with her hand, 
which I held loosely in my own, she made a negative gesture per- 
fectly intelligible, and then another which said : Underneath ! 

Now, that lady not only was entirely unconscious of this expressive 
conversation, but she never would believe that it was by her uncon- 
scious motions that I was guided in the search. 

" No," she would say, " that is impossible. You read my thought ; 
I was very careful this time not to make any motion whatever." She 
was a person easily hypnotizable (hypnoscopic experiment : heavi- 
ness, paralysis, numbness). 

There are some 60 persons in 100 with whom Cumberlandism 
succeeds more or less readily ; thus, they are more numerous than 
hypnotizable subjects, who are not more than 30 in 100. 

Usually the experiments a're more successful with hypnotizable 



persons. Nevertheless, there is a certain number of the latter — even 
of the best subjects — with whom you never will succeed. Why? 
Because the conditions of success in Cumberlandism are twofold : 

i. An organic tendency to a duplication between the voluntary 
and the involuntary movements, which characterizes the majority of 
hypnotizable subjects. 

2. A facility in concentrating one's thoughts and keeping up the 
concentration, which quite naturally and of necessity produces in 
every one this duplication. 

Now, among non-hypnotizable persons there are some who possess 
this latter faculty in a high degree, while, on the other hand, it is 
sometimes lacking in persons easily hypnotizable, but who cannot 
concentrate their attention. When they pass foment a person, they 
think of that person ; but when they perceive a mirror they think of 
the mirror, and plainly the muscular indications become confused. 
Yes ; there are persons easily hypnotizable who are incapable of con- 
centrating their attention — a thing, be it said in passing, which con- 
tradicts Braid's theory. 

In general, Cumberlandism rests upon the same physiological basis 
as " willing," though the external conditions are altogether different. 
In "willing" it is by the will that we seek to make the person we 
touch perforin a given movement, and then we involuntarily impel 
him to its performance. In Cumberlandism, on the contrary, we have 
no such will, we simply think of a place — but we lead the subject all 
the same. At bottom the same principle is found in both ; an ideo- 
plasty of movements (realization 1 of the movements we think about) 
and, from the point of View of the one who guesses, a mechanical 

It is still a long way to mental suggestion. Yet these are the 
experiments that have contributed most to awaken in the minds of 
some physiologists the thought of studying true mental suggestion. 



SUCH were my judgments, such my doubts, when, in the month of 
March, 1 884, I received from a well-known physician of Nice a 
letter, in which occurred the following passage : 

" To-day I met a young man of 24 years, intelligent and educated, 
who wishes to be of service to science, and in whom can be produced, 
in the waking state, suggestion phenomena by word and by thought. 

1 Or actualization. — Translator. 


He is a noctambule from childhood ; so have been or are his mother, 
his maternal grandfather, and his maternal uncle. I have been able 
to make a few experiments with him. I imagined seeing a bird flying 
hither and thither in a room : I touched him and he saw the bird flying 
about in every direction. [Here follows an experiment in color- 
changes by verbal suggestion, which does not concern us.] He 
appears to be a little more sensitive on the left side of the body [than 
on the right]. I must see this subject again, for he is a very remark- 
able one. 

[Signed] A. Bar£ty. 


As the details of the experiment were not stated with precision, I 
was justified in supposing that the questions of the experimenter, and 
his attitude, might have suggested to the subject the hallucination 
desired. In fact, to suggest to the subject the idea of a bird flying, 
one need but look round the ceiling and ask if he does not see some- 
thing in the air. And had details of what he saw been asked for, it 
is probable that the bird seen by the subject would be found very 
different from that imagined by the experimenter. Some weeks later 
I received a second letter, containing more details : 

" Since my last letter was written, I have seen again the subject of 
whom I have spoken to you. He is in the hands of a magnetizer, 
with whom he came to see me. I have on my desk two statuettes, 
one bronze, the other ivory ; these I placed side by side, three or four 
inches apart, and upright. Then I said to the subject : ' Look at 
these two statuettes ; what is their color ? ' He answered : ' One is 
white (that on the right) and the other is dark.' Then placing my 
left hand in his right, I asked if he saw anything peculiar in looking 
at the two statuettes. As for me, I had imagined or strongly con- 
ceived the thought of the white one quitting its place and becoming one 
with the brown. He answered, after a few minutes, that the white 
statuette left its place ; that it transferred itself to the other side of 
the brown. That was a little more than I had thought. 

" Next I imagined (always without making the slightest sign) the 
statuettes growing smaller, and (my right hand being placed in the 
right hand of the subject) I asked him what he saw. He answered 
that he saw the statuettes growing smaller and smaller, till they were 
no bigger than a pin-head. In reality, they are each about five inches 
in height. 

" Then I thought of them growing larger, and, without my questioning 
him, he told me that now he saw them growing larger and larger. He 
even lifted his head to follow this increase in their size, and seemed 
quite surprised at it. Imaging to myself, then, the statuettes grow- 
ing smaller till they resumed their proper dimensions, I was told by 
the subject that he saw them growing smaller." 

Here I interrupt the quotation to make some remarks. This experi- 
ment is certainly a good deal mOre important than the previous one. But 
it is far from being conclusive. First, the thoughts of the subject were 
fixed in advance, and limited to " something " about to happen to 
the statuettes. What could happen to them ? A change of color ? 


Experiments on color changes had already been made in the preceding- 
seance. The statuettes might change their places. The subject had 
this thought, but was a little " out " as to details. They might grow 
bigger. This the subject guessed. What association comes nearest 
to increased size ? Diminution. This, too, the subject guessed. After 
the reality is falsified in two opposite respects ; one, as a matter of 
course, feels the need of restoring the true state of things as they 
appear to our senses, and it is probable that the experimenter and the 
subject had this thought simultaneously. We need to know not only 
the details of the experiment — which has been described carefully — 
but also the conversation that went before, and all the conditions of 
the moment, in order to be sure that a train of associations and the 
psychic atmosphere were not the sole cause of the successful issue. 

Such, in substance, were the observations that I made to the experi- 
menter, and he was pleased to recognize the pertinency of a certain 
number of my objections. We may now return to the letter : 

" After this experiment (writes Dr. Bar^ty), I made another and 
very interesting one on making him find a hidden object. 

" Having made him turn his head away entirely, I took the ivory 
statuette and concealed it in my right hand, which I placed upon my 
hip. My left hand was not at this time in contact with his hand as it 
was before. 

" I asked him to face about and look at the statuettes, which he 
immediately did. But, as he showed no surprise, I asked if he saw 
them both. He answered yes. Then, I said, ' Well, then, take the 
white one in your hand ' He put his hand forth to where the ivory 
statuette had stood before, and seemed to bring it toward him and to 
examine it. But presently he moved his fingers as though conscious 
that he was grasping only a shadow, or that the object was vanishing. 
' Where is it ? What is become of it ? ' Forthwith he directed his eyes 
toward my closed right hand, placed on my hip (a position in which I 
had held that hand before seizing the object), and said to me, ' What 
have you in your right hand ? ' " 

So far, I still see nothing but a transient hallucination, and an infer- 
ence that easily enough may have been suggested by the immobility 
of the experimenter's closed right hand, which the subject, perhaps, 
for the first time noticed at the moment of his search. But let us 
return to the letter. 

" I then asked him to turn and look in the opposite direction [an 
insufficient precaution, for it gives assurance to the subject that noth- 
ing is taken to any distance away], and then rapidly and noiselessly I 
hid the statuette in my waistcoat. Then I again placed my closed 
hand upon my hip as before. I bid him turn round and tell me quickly 
where the white statuette was, and to get it. He thereupon made his 
right hand perform a most singular movement. First he carried his 
hand to the spot where the statuette had originally stood, then, always 
slowly, he guided it toward the waistcoat, passing nigh to the hip 


(where I had before held the statuette concealed in my hand), and 
following the track of the statuette. 

"In conclusion, I repeated the experiment of increasing and dimin- 
ishing the size of the statuettes without my hand being in contact 
with the subject's, at the same time concealing my eyes. It was a complete 
success. This last experiment seems to me very convincing. What 
think you of it ? " 

Yes ; more convincing than the first, but unfortunately it was the 
second, repeated under the same conditions ; consequently it is open 
to the doubts formulated above with regard to repeated experiments 
in general. 

But while I raised these objections I was deeply interested in Dr. 
Barety's experiments, and I sent to him a great many questions which 
I asked him to resolve experimentally. As for the experiments in 
finding a hidden object, when the subject followed exactly the track 
of the object itself, I frankly told the doctor that I did not under- 
stand them at all. 

What was needed was a more systematic, a more rigorous, study of 
the matter. This Dr. Barety knew as well as I, but unfortunately 
circumstances were adverse. Then, too, perhaps it was an excess of 
incredulity ; but when there is question of an experiment in mental 
suggestion, I put no trust in anybody but myself. Besides, have I 
not told of a case in which I was myself deceived by an unnoticed 
circumstance or an unsuspected psychic mechanism ? Nor is it out 
of presumption that I depreciate the testimony of others, who per- 
haps have taken precisely the same precautions I would myself have 
taken ; but in matters like this it is impossible to recount all the little 
details that are essential for a full understanding of the situation, and 
conviction does not flow from the final result nor from the general 
conditions ; what produces conviction is certain peculiar circum- 
stances, the impression on the observer's mind, his personal sense of 
the impossibility of explaining the thing otherwise than by a direct 
psychic action'. 

I was therefore very glad to learn a month afterward that the sub- 
ject and his magnetizer were about to come to Paris. I gave a good 
deal of time and study to planning experiments, and a seance was 
held in accordance with a programme drawn up jointly by Dr. Barety 
and myself. 

I commenced with the hypnoscopic experiment. It showed the subject 
to be a person of enormous sensibility : there was contracture and 
almost instantaneous insensibility of the whole arm. And this 
phenomenon could be produced or suppressed purely by verbal sug- 

I wished at first to leave his habitual magnetizer, Mr. B.., entirely at 
liberty, reserving to myself the right to make the experiments again 


under different conditions. When one seeks to verify a phenomenon 
about which he knows nothing, one must not impose upon it at first a 
lot of conditions that may interfere with success, and yet, for all that, 
may not disprove the principle one is investigating, and the true 
nature of which one does not know. 

" What results do you think you can produce with your subject ? " 
I asked the magnetizer. He recited a whole litany of phenomena, 
out of which I selected the following three: i. — Sympathic and 
attractive action on the right side, antipathic and repellant action on 
the left. 2. — Paralysis produced from a distance. 3. — Finding hidden 

" Do you think you can obtain with your subject any direct trans- 
mission by means of your thought alone ? " 

Much to my astonishment, the magnetizer replied in the negative. 
Yet that was the object of our meeting ! 

" I must use gestures," he said, " except in the third experiment, 
which can be performed without my taking any part in it. But I can- 
not guarantee thought-action pure and simple : with regard to that I 
am not at all sure." 

What matters it ? We will make the attempt all the same, as Dr. 
Barety thinks he has succeeded often. 

I shall not need to recount the details of the first experiment. 
Evidently — and R. himself shared in this opinion — it was simply the 
result of hypnotic training. It is "the story of Mr. Camille" once 
more, and it does not even prove the independence of the two cerebral 

Second Experiment. — The subject turns his back to the magnetizer, 
who is in another room at the distance of about 25 feet. Dr. Barety 
stays with the subject, I watch the magnetizer. The subject is count- 
ing aloud. At a signal from me the magnetizer " projects the fluid " 
with all his might. The subject ceases to count — he is paralyzed. 

This experiment succeeded three times consecutively. I thought I 
noticed, however, that the magnetizer's cuffs were too noisy. 

I now remained in the room. I walked up and down to prevent 
the subject from hearing the magnetizer's gestures. The experiment 
was a flash in the pan, that is to say, there was a delay of several 

As the magnetizer was acting in perfect good faith, I asked him to 
take off his cuffs. Check again. We began once more, and now, 
though the magnetizer, at my request, made his gestures as noise- 
lessly as possible, the experiment was successful. 

Conclusion : Direct action was not proved, but no more was it dis- 
proved. But if direct action is to be admitted, there was reason to 
believe that the auditive impressions assisted in producing the phe- 


Third experiment. — This time something really new was presented. 
The procedure was as follows : 

In the first place, every precaution was taken to avoid illusions. 

An object of any sort was chosen — a book, for instance — which 
was placed on a table. (In this experiment the selection of the ob- 
ject is not important.) 

The subject and his magnetizer being absent, I take this book in a 
direction chosen by myself, and hide it in a nook in the room not 
easily guessed. (I make an accurate sketch of the route taken by 
me in removing the book.) Barety and I know where the book lies, 
but we take such positions in the room as to prevent our influencing 
the subject by any involuntary sign. 

The subject is brought in blindfolded. The place on the table 
where the object formerly lay is indicated to him, but without naming 
to him the object. The subject is not asleep, but it becomes plain, 
as the experiment proceeds, that the concentration of his attention 
produces in him a state of super-excitation that is almost hypnotic. 
He begins by feeling of the spot indicated. He knows not what the 
object is, does not guess what it is, yet, strange to say, his fingers as 
they grope describe the contour of a book. One might say that the 
ghost of the book offers a resistance to his fingers. Having made 
sure of the form of the object and of the place it occupied before, he 
essays two or three directions, always groping in the air, and takes 
the true one. This he follows slowly, misses it twice or thrice, 
retraces his steps, goes on with greater confidence, and in three min- 
utes finds the book. We say nothing, but he assures us that this is 
the object we had hidden. 

I made a sketch of the path he took. On comparing the two lines, 
the second is found to be a little more curved. 

In another experiment I purposely made two unexpected declina- 
tions ; the track of the subject was straighter than mine. 

Here, again, is something extraordinary : I selected as the object 
to be hidden a powerful magnet (the hypnoscope), without letting the 
subject know. He comes in, feels of the place where the magnet had 
lain, and stands motionless. " I cannot go on," he said ; " my fingers 
are become stiff." In truth, there was a contracture not only of the 
fingers, but of the whole forearm. I was much surprised, but by 
means of gentle massage, without uttering a word, I freed him from 
the contracture and induced him to proceed. On reaching the mantel- 
shelf, on which was the magnet, hid in a vase, the same phenomenon 
was seen. " It is there," he said, " but again my arms are stiff." He 
showed great fatigue at the conclusion of each experiment. 

I shall now be asked, What is the solution of the enigma ? All that 
I can say is : 

1. All the experiments were successful,' or neariy so. 


2. There was no mental suggestion, or if there was, it played a 
secondary part. 

3. The principal role was played by the subject's tactile sensations, 
which were exceedingly acute. 

4. The object chosen might be " magnetized " or not, and taken to 
the hiding-place by an unknown person, and consequently neither the 
individual " fluid " nor certain olfactive emanations come here into 
play, or at least they are not necessary. 

5. Unless we admit mental suggestion or the reality of a "dynamic 
ghost " {spectre dynamique) left at the place where before the hypno- 
scope lay, it must be confessed that in this case no scientific explana- 
tion whatever is possible. 

6. Between the transfer of the object and the performance of the 
experiment it was essential that only a few minutes should intervene ; 
else the " trace " of the object through the air vanished. 

I may mention a few additional points of interest : 

When questioned with regard to his own sensations or opinions, the 
subject told me that he considered the phenomenon as the effect of a 
special tactile sensibility acquired by practice. " When you are in a bath," 
said he, " you feel distinctly the difference in density of the two 
media, water and air. The water offers a greater resistance to your 
movements than does the air. Now, I have very much the same sen- 
sation in the air that an object has traversed ; it is for me more rare- 
fied, it offers me less resistance, and it is this less resistance mainly that 
guides me. I cannot tell you anything more about it. I do not feel 
quite master of myself in making this experiment, and the certainty 
of success depends precisely upon the degree of this peculiar state. 
I then feel isolated from all around me, I hear nothing, I exist only in 
my fingers, which, however, work without me. The more I reason 
the less do I succeed." 

As for the experiment with the hypnoscope, evidently we must sup- 
pose that the presence of the instrument magnetizes the air for a certain 
time, or at least produces an electric change that we are unable to 
define. This supposition accords With Reichenbach's researches, which 
perhaps are worth repeating in spite of the non-success of the experi- 
ments mentioned in the beginning of the present study. 

We decided to make a further test of the direct action of thought 
upon the subject. Touching him with my hand, I imagined to myself 
some object — its shape, color, feel. In this case the subject either 
saw nothing at all, or something very indefinite. 

Setting before us a leaf of white paper, I imagined to myself a 
round yellow spot. The subject saw something gray. Again I imag- 
ined a black cross ; he saw a round spot. 

It appears that Dr. Barety was more fortunate than I, and that 
with him the subject twice or thrice guessed the color that the doctor 


had in mind, or at least the complementary color. But there was 
nothing decisive in these experiments — such, at all events, was my 
personal impression. 

The following year (1885) Charles Richet published his remarkable 
essay in Ribot's Lievue Philosophique. 

He was inspired by an idea that I find to be at once simple and in- 
genious, and which may, I think, be stated as follows : 

There are in physiological phenomena, no absolute limits — only a 
gradation. Consequently, if mental suggestion exist6 in an excep- 
tional degree in some privileged subjects — and that remains to be 
proved — it must needs exist in a degree more or less inappreciable in 
everybody. That which in an isolated fact is inappreciable may be 
rendered appreciable by bringing isolated facts together. Statistic 
may light up an effect previously not noticed, and the calculus of 
probability readily shows how much belongs to chance and how much 
to a real agent. Thus one can find a rational, a premonitory (excuse 
the term !) ' basis, before he attains direct proof of an extraordinary 

Mr. Richet set about making experiments (easily repeated with 
everybody) and grouping them, and reached the interesting conclusion 
that in cases where mental suggestion possibly was added to chance, 
there was always a slight surplus of successes. Here is a summary of 

the results obtained : 


Probable. Actual. 

1. In 1833 experiments with playing-cards 458 510 

2. " 218 " photographs, etc 42 67 

3. " 98 " a rod 18 44 

4. " 124 spiritist experiments, so-called 3 17 

2,273 521 638 

That is to say, in all these experiments there was a surplus in favor 
of suggestion. 

I have repeated the experiments with playing-cards with four non- 
hypnotizable persons, and found the results very much the same. In 
order to be able to compare them, we must observe that for Richet's 
1833 experiments the calculated probability was 0.250, and the actual 
proportion 0.278 — a surplus of 0.028 in favor of mental suggestion. 
Now here are my figures : 

Successes. Proportion of 

Probable. Actual. Actual. 

C. R. 92 experiments 23 22 0.239 

M. K. 30 " 7 7 0.250 

B. A. 50 " 12 15 0.300 

M. A. 107 " 26 32 0.299 

J. O. 49 " 12 16 0.329 

328 80 92 0.283 

1 Premonitoire. The meaning is obvious. The author it is that begs the reader's 
indulgence for using the word. — Translator. 


N, ThaY is to say, the proportion of successes was 0.283, supposing 

mental suggestion, while it was but 0.250 according to the calculus of 

^jprobajejfllity, and 0.240 according to comparative experiment without 

{jyjsugg&non — a difference of 0.033 in favor of the hypothesis. 

OC Th^e figures, it is seen, are even higher than those obtained by 


^pRich^w; but the number of my experiments being much smaller, it is 

probarole that were it increased the differences would be equalized. 

in another series of experiments with another person (also non- 

ypnotizable, but very nervous and easily impressionable), upon 

guessing Only the color of the cards, I obtained a difference still more 

marked in favor of suggestion, thus : 

Without mental suggestion 0.42. 

By calculus of probability 0.50 

With mental suggestion 0.60 

A surplus of 3*0". Mr. Richet thinks that experiments on the color of 
a card are inconclusive, because of a large influence of chance, which,, 
with the probability of \, must efface the very slight influence of sug- 
gestion. That would be true if the suggestive influence were absolutely 
the same in both cases. But I do not think it is so. 

The difference between red and black being clearer and simpler than 
the difference between spade and club, or between heart and diamond, 
the imagination of the subject ought to receive more readily a sug- 
gestion of the former than of the latter. Does not Mr. Richet himself 
say that, with a smaller chance, -£% for example, for a full designation 
of the card " the conditions of suggestion are bad, as if the selecting from 
among 52 cards were too large a matter for suggestion to act clearly?/' 
The remark is very just ; but then a fortiori suggestion ought to act 
still more clearly when there is a question merely of a color. 

From all his experiments, Mr. Richet infers the probability of the 
following propositions : 

1. The thought of an individual is transmitted without the help of 
external gestures to the mind of an individual placed near hi-m. 

2. This transmission takes place in different degrees in different indi- 
viduals ; it is also extremely variable in the same person. 

3. This transmission is usually unconscious, in that it acts rather on 
the unconscious intelligence than on the conscious intelligence of the 
individual perceiving and of the individual transmitting. 

4. In healthy adults who are not hypnotizable, the degree of probability 
of this transmission hardly exceeds -fe (we have seen that under excep- 
tional circumstances it may amount to T \). 

5 . The general probability in favor of suggestion may be represented by 

The personal impression that results from all these experiments is 
as follows : the method is not of a kind to produce conviction ; but 
if mental suggestion is a fact, this method has rendered a valuable 



service to the cause by establishing for it a basis of probability, a real 
ground to stand on, and by awakening the curiosity of investigators. 

Were it not for Mr. Richet's work, I should probably never have 
reverted to this unfruitful study and its manifold illusions. What 
induced me to persevere was the following passage : 

"All my experiments (says Mr. Richet) were made upon non- 
sensitive persons, as my friends and myself ; it will be interesting to 
know what effect they have on persons really sensitive, hypnotized, 
hypnotizable, hysterical, nervous, or trained by long practice in the 
perception of suggestions. Unfortunately I have had no opportunity 
to make such research, as I have not had at command a sensitive 

As one has only to provide himself with a hypnoscope and to enter 
a company of a score of persons, in order to find a good subject, I 
undertook a series of experiments for the purpose of verifying those 
made by the Society for Psychical Research, of London. Here are 
the results of my first seance : 

The subject, Mrs. D., is 60 years of age, hypnotizable. (Hypno- 
scopic experiment: heaviness, paralysis, analgesia.) Chronic articular 
rheumatism, very strong constitution, very robust, remarkable intelli- 
gence, accustomed to literary work, a good deal of erudition, internal 
impressionability, without external signs ; psychically active tempera- 
ment, but quiet ; of exceedingly gentle disposition. Her back is turned 
toward us. Mrs. P. and myself think of an object while we touch the 
subject ; the latter is informed that the object is 

A Playing Card: 


rr of 



Six of spades. (Prob. 

= &). 

Six of black. 


Ten of spades. 

Red, not black, a ten-spot. 


Knave of hearts. 

Red, a king? A queen? 

A Color : 











Any Object : 


A lamp. 

A book, a cigar, paper. Result -0. 


A silk hat. 

Something blue, light. 


An armchair. 

A sugar-bowl, bureau, a piece of 
furniture. Result=o. 



A taste of salt. 

A Letter : 


Z. (Prob.= A )<. 

| I. R. S. Result=o. 
A Person : 



I Valentine. 


Mr. O. (myself.) 

1 Mr. D., Mr. Z. Result=o. 

1 Sic. 

But as the number of 

letters in the French alphabet is 23, the probability 

would seem to be one in 23, 

not one in 34. 

— Translator. 


A Portrait : 


14 The Bishop. (Prob =|). | It is the Bishop. 

A Digit : 

15. 8. I 7, 5, 2, 8. Result=o. 

An Impression : 

16. Joyful. J Sad. Result— o. 

Any Figure : 

17. A black cross. A tree, crossed branches. Result=iO. 

18. A long-bearded old man. A man, bearded, white beard. 

A Photograph : 

19. Of a boy. (Prob. =4). | A girl, children. Result=o. 

A Name : 

20. Marie. Marie. 

21. Adam. Jean, Gustave, Charles. Result=a. 

A Number : 

22. Ten. I Six, twelve, nine, ten. 

Any Object : 

23. A book bound in blue satin. 

24. Gold pencil case on a blue 


25. Ace of spades on a black 


A Musical Instrument : 

26. A trumpet. | The violin. Result=o. 

A Digit : 

27. Three. | 2, 5. Result=o. 

An Object in the Dining-room : 

28. A plate with figure on it. j A plate with figure. 

A Taste : 

Violet color, pink. Result=o. 
Something black on blue. Re- 

Something black, blue, a card, ace 

of clubs. 

29. Of salt. 

30. Of sugar. 

31. Of strawberries. 

Sour, bitter. Result=o. 


Of an apple, grapes, strawberries. 

The subject was visibly fatigued, and we interrupted the experi- 

I was much surprised. Of 31 experiments at least 13 were entirely- 
successful, though often the probability was exceedingly small ; even 
the misses in some cases presented evident analogies. And hardly 12 
out of the whole 31 could be regarded as absolute failures. The first 
three, for example, though not entirely exact, plainly uphold the 
probability of suggestion. 

One doubt alone troubled me. I have already explained what I 
call the psychic atmosphere. All the objects thought of, except a few 
cards drawn at random, were chosen during the seance by myself or 


by Mrs. P. Now, it well might be that we were all three quite un- 
consciously borne along, so to speak, by a current of associations. 
This supposition may seem improbable, but in making it I had in 
mind a prior experiment of my own that was truly astonishing. 

There were five or six of us staying with friends in the country. 
We amused ourselves as we could ; among other things by play- 
ing tricks with cards. Then we passed to guessing. Having 
by chance twice or thrice guessed a number chosen between o 
and 6, and several cards chosen mentally, I thought I noticed 
that after repeated experiments there was set up in our minds 
a mechanical series of cards or of numbers, based on contiguity, 
likeness, or contrast, and that' this gave me a presentiment of the 
card or number to be selected immediately. I had only to give the 
rein to this unconscious and unreasoned conjecture in order to per- 
ceive in my imagination the image of a card that was in the air, so to 
speak. I was almost certain that now it was the turn of, say, the 
king of diamonds, and I would ask my neighbor to think of a card. 
He would think of the king of diamonds. 

It was no suggestion from my neighbor, for before he chose his card 
I had made up my mind to say " king of diamonds." And often in 
such cases it happened that another person would remark : " Well, 
that is curious ! I thought of the same card ! " Thus, it was in the 

Sometimes I have been able to discover the probable mechanism 
of this enchainment. Thus, 28 was chosen next after 47 probably be- 
cause 4X7 = 28. Again, if among the numbers between 1 and 9 one 
chose 8, that is, a number near to 9, another person would choose 2 or 
3, to be farthest away from the former ; 2 and 3 would lead to the 
thought of 6 ; then, in order not to take again the numbers already 
used, the choice would fall upon 4 or 5, associated to 3 and 6, which 
were pronounced more aloud than the others, and so on. It is impos- 
sible to foresee all these relations between numbers : if they chanced 
to agree in several persons at once they constituted the psychic atmos- 
phere, playing the part of a prompter. 

Evidently the mechanism of these guesses seldom suffices to explain 
certain unexpected coincidences ; but being a determinist in psychol- 
ogy as in other matters, I have said to myself : I am ignorant of this 
mechanism ; therefore I cannot justify the general hypothesis by 
proofs ; yet, all things being determined by an enchainment of causes 
and effects, 1 it is conceivable that an omniscient intelligence, know- 
ing all the impresses of sensations in our brains, all the connections 
of our thoughts, all our habitudes, weaknesses, and other qualities, 

1 This clause furnishes a definition of the term "determinist:" One who holds 
that all things are determined by an enchainment of causes and effects. " Determi- 
nism " contradicts "freewill." — Translator. 


might easily calculate or foresee not only our choice, but also the 
answers of the subject. And as it is certain that the unconscious 
of somnambules is a Grand Master in occultism, who is there that 
may boast himself to know the limits of its power? The fact that 
my subject was not in somnambulism was no obstacle, for I have long 
been convinced that all the phenomena of somnambulism may pre- 
sent themselves isolatedly and momentarily in the waking state. 

I beg the reader not to be surprised at these rather conjectural 
speculations. In dealing with a phenomenon so controverted, so extra- 
ordinary, when after long years of research one sees that all his 
convictions, acquired theoretically and experimentally, are shaken, one 
defends himself as best he can. 

But to return to the facts. Here are three experiments in favor of 
the psychic-atmosphere hypothesis, hastily made upon another per- 
son, not hypnotizable : „ „ , < 
3V A Color: 


32. Red. I Pink. 

A Flower : 

33. Lilac. I Lilac. 

A Person Present : 

34. Mr. J. I Mrs. D. 

The general outcome of these three experiments seems quite favor- 
able to the theory of transmission. But let us consider the circum- 
stances. The subject is told that there is question of some color, and 
he guesses it only approximatively ; the color was red ; it becomes 

The subject is told that the test is some flower. A bunch of lilacs 
was on the table ; every one noticed it, and it was uppermost in the 
minds of all. Then, the question being about a matter a little more 
remote, with the probability still strong, only some dozen persons 
being present, there was a check. Not only does the subject not 
guess the person, but he names a woman instead of a man. Conse- 
quently, these three experiments are almost valueless — and, when I 
say almost, that is solely because of a certain resemblance between red 
and pink ; but the thought of pink may have been called up by a purely 
fortuitous cause, that is to say, one having nothing to do with sug- 

Let us now come back to our first subject. Here is a second series 
of experiments, made with greater precaution, care being taken to 
avoid the enchainment of associations (May 2, 1885). 

Any Object: 


35. A bust of Mr. N. 

Portrait . . . of a man 
a bust. 





Any Object: 


A fan. Something round. Result 

A key. Something made of lead 

38. A hand wearing a ring. 

39. Acid. 


bronze . . . it is of iron. 
Something shining, a diamond . , 
a finger-ring. 

A Taste : 
I Sweet. 

Result -= o. 


A Square 


A circle. 














A Shape : 

Something irregular. Result 
A triangle ... a circle. 

Letter : 


A, X, R, B. 

W, A ; no, it is O. 

J . (continue !) Jan. 

Third series, May 6, 1885. Twenty-five experiments were made, 
notes of which, unfortunately, I have not kept, except as to the follow- 
ing, which surprised me most. (The subject has her back turned 
toward us, holds a pencil, and writes the thought that comes to her. 
We touch her back lightly while looking on letters written by our- 


4S. Brabant. 





irth Series, V. 






T. ' 





















Bra. . . (I strive mentally to 
aid the subject, saying noth- 
ing.) Brabant. 



L, P, K, J. Result =- o. 


S, T, F. 

M, N. 

R, Z, A. Result «= o. 

V, Y. 


F, J, Gabriel. Result ■— 

E, O. Result = o. 
B, A. 

F, K, O. Result = o. 

A Number : 

6, 8, 12. 
7> 5, 9. 




(I endeavor to have represented in the subject's mind the written 
numbers, not their sound.) 
64. 3. 

65- 7- 
66. 8. 

», 3- 


8: no, o, 6 

Thirteen experiments followed with fantastically drawn figures, 
only five of which presented a general likeness, without much exacti- 

A Person Represented Mentally : 

67. The subject. 

68. Mr. D. 

Mr. O. No, it is myself. 
Mr. D. 

Any Image (or View) Whatever: 

69. We imagine a crescent moon, 
Mrs. P. representing it to 
herself with a background 
of clouds ; T, with one of 
deep blue. 

I see the clouds flitting ... A 
light . . . (with a look 
of satisfaction) it is the moon. 

If after these experiments any one had asked whether I believed in 
thought-transference, I should have answered affirmatively. From 
the point of view of conscious, scientific reasoning, one must have 
surrendered to the evidence. Chance could not have produced so 
many fortuitous hits. For example, if we look only at the experi- 
ments with letters, leaving out of account the whole words guessed, of 20 
experiments 15 succeeded, whereas probability allows only one success 
in 24, or o in 20 — zero against fifteen ! To hit the chance guess of 
the three-letter combination Jan, would have required 25 s (=15,625) 
experiments without suggestion, while with suggestion one sufficed. 

Thus, from the objective standpoint, my skepticism might well sur- 
render before the eloquence of the facts. But — and here is the oddity 
of the thing — in problems of this kind the observer's subjective 
i?npression is sometimes worth more than a purely empiric showing. 
Evidently the observer must have a general scientific routine and a 
special acquaintance with the phenomena belonging to it ; but then it 
is upon his instinctive subjective impression that I should most rely. 
He may give me all the details — and it is impossible for him to give 
all the details of conditions and circumstances — but if I do not see 
that inwardly, subjectively, he is not merely astonished, but convinced, 
conquered by the facts observed, without having his reason upset, as 
may unfortunately happen — it was so with Zollner 1 — I would give no 
particular credence to his revelations. I should prefer an almost 
entirely defective experiment, but accompanied by that personal 

1 Slade, the American spiritist, succeeded in making the German mathematician 
Zollner believe in a fourth dimension of space, by showing to him a knot produced 
on a single cord after the two ends of it had been tied together and sealed with wax 
bearing the impression of Zollner's seal ! — Translator. 


impression of an instructed and honest man which is expressed in the 
cautious yet decisive phrase : "There's something in that." 

Now, this personal impression was mine when I made those hurried 
experiments ; but the thing that was always lacking was that other 
impression, subjective also, but more decisive : " Here is direct trans- 
ference of thought." 

Singularly enough, nearly every time that the subject was going to 
guess our thoughts, I had a presentiment that it would be so. It 
seemed to me that, despite all precautions, and though we were all in 
perfectly good faith, there was a certain trickery on the part of our 
unconsciouses, and that they were fooling us. It seemed to me that 
even in choosing the objects hardest to guess, I was astutely making 
the choice that most facilitated success ; that even when a card was 
drawn at random, I substituted another for it under some insufficient 
pretext, even forgetting this manoeuvre, and remaining quite at rest 
in my conscience, while my partner (aide) nothing suspected. 

I fear I shall be misunderstood. I am speaking of a phenomenon 
almost inappreciable, of operations infinitesimal, transient, more or 
less unconscious, caused by the psychic atmosphere. I have been 
long used to make psychological observations ; they have been the 
principal occupation of my life, from early childhood I might say, for 
since my fifteenth year I have been taking daily notes (some of them 
published in my native language), and I was but seventeen when I 
wrote my first dissertation on " Methods of Psychological Study," 
published in 1869, wherein I showed (for the first time, I believe) how 
the phenomena of hypnotism may be exploited under the form of a 
special method by positive theoretic psychology. 

Consequently I do not wish to be suspected of any sort of mysti- 
cism, and I think I have the right to claim for myself the routine that 
is necessary for making exact observations. But just because of this 
long practice I have reached some empiric subtilties very difficult to 
express. Psychology has throughout for me an aspect widely differ- 
ent from what one sees in the best works on our science. The 
psychology of the day seems to me gross and crude in view of the 
subtilties of real life as I see it. The theory of association of ideas, 
for example, which has been made, and with reason, for the nonce, the 
sole ground of the whole psychology of phenomena, is for me only a 
partial and quite inadequate expression of the mechanism of psychic 
life. It is but a rough draft of a delicate mechanism. It may 
suffice for the needs of instruction in the elements of psychology, but 
not for a finished science. I am free to confess that with the associa- 
tion theory of to-day I do not even see why our ideas associate, and 
in general why they live, circulate and produce sensible effects. And 
yet I am a determinist, and it is no faculty, no obscure force, that I 
would add to the association theory to make it true to fact and life. 


The question is one of details, but of details that stand related to the 
current theory of association as vision through a microscope is related 
to direct vision. 

For explaining the larger phenomena of psychic life this association- 
anatomy is well enough ; the thing we need is a microscopic histology 
of association when we have to do with rare phenomena, i. c, with 
phenomena rarely noticeable and rarely noticed — for that, too, is a point 
of my personal separatism in psychology, to wit, that rare phenomena 
are such only because 7ue are rarely capable of seeing them. On the other 
hand, we should be less ready to discern an enchainment through 
contiguity, likeness, or contrast, in time or in space, were we to see 
things through a psychological microscope which should oftentimes 
distinguish like phenomena, assimilate contrasts and dislocate con- 
tiguities, interposing a number of intermediate links and agencies. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to setting forth details precisely, two 
things are lacking: first, clear vision of these details, and then, even 
when they are seen passably well, the possibility of expressing them 
correctly. Here we may call to mind the vicious circle of the sophist 
Gorgias. Plainly our skepticism is not, like his, nihilistic. We do not 
see clearly to-day, we shall to-morrow, and no doubt we shall little 
by little find new words for new ideas. In the meantime it is better 
to stand still where we are than to create an incomprehensible lan- 
guage and to talk Volapuk under pretense of propagating a universal 
science. We have had plenty of Volapiikian psychologies which, 
albeit they were created by Rants and Hegels, no longer exist in the 
estimation of exact science. All this notwithstanding, the Kants and 
Hegels may have had profound ideas that will be understood, better 
than by their authors, a few centuries hence. 

I have often mentioned the unconscious. I have even personified 
it a little, without any back-thought, 1 however. I concede to German 
psychology the great merit of having brought to light that absolutely 
true and fundamentally necessary theory. But see what happened 
when men set about defining it prematurely ; see what it has come to 
be in the deft and reckless hands of Von Hartmann ; a fantastic 
romance of the unconscious, an Edgar A. Poe story, not even as near 
the facts as a story of Jules Verne's ! 

Hence it is that I choose to content myself with a few hints that to 
me seem clear, instead of plunging into subtilties that I do not myself 
quite understand. Later, when we come to certain details of the 
question, we shall see what it may be possible to add. 

So, then, I was convinced of the reality of the facts of mental sug- 
gestion, but not of suggestion itself. It remained to formulate the 
theory of the facts, and that theory appeared to me far removed from 

1 Sit venia verba. It is meant to translate arribre J>ens/e~the thought (or intent) 
that is behind, or lies back of, an overt act or speech. — Translator. 


the theory of direct action of mind upon mind, such as Mr. Richet 

Finally, here perhaps were two or even more different processes to 
be discovered. 

First, a concordance between two unconscious mechanisms, as between 
Leibnitz's two watches, a concordance resting on a sort of harmony 
preestablished through the mutual interchange of the ordinary con- 
scious sensations, and in which the object chosen as well as the object 
guessed is determined independently the one of the other, but by one 
self-same unconscious determinant set of works. 1 

Then, in some cases, a true perception of thought by intermediation 
of external signs that may easily'escape us, seeing that so perceptible 
a sign as the tension of the muscles in the direction of the object 
thought of has taken so long to be discovered. There would thus be 
an exaltation of perception, but of the normal perception for physiog- 
nomic, pathognomic, and ideognomic signs, that usually enable us only 
to distinguish joy from sadness, quiet enjoyment from intense pleasure; 
sympathy, distrust, irony, or sincerity, in the touch of a hand or in the 
tone of a voice ; whereas here, in virtue of an exceptional percepti- 
bility, those signs would enable us furthermore to divine whether one 
is thinking of yellow or of blue, of a round figure or a square. 

Finally, over and above all normal perceptibility there is perhaps 
ground to suppose a transmission, always indirect? of vibrations pro- 
duced by the thought itself, and capable of reconstructing the 
thought, like as the human voice produces undulatory telephone cur- 
rents that can reproduce speech at another like station. 

Henceforth all this was possible, and it behooved to look forward 
to an unheard-of complexity of phenomena. Consequently it was 
my wish to simplify at least the conditions of experiment. In the 
experiments already recited this was impossible. The subject had 
always to be notified in advance that the experiment was to be made, 
consequently his unconscious was put on its guard. The subject 
could take for granted that we would avoid repeating the same experi- 
ments, and that if at the seance before we thought oi blue and yellow, 
it would now be the turn of red and green. 

We had to circumscribe, and that pretty narrowly, the category of 
objects to be chosen, and then the thought of the subject was also 
circumscribed in advance, and had to rummage in only one of the 
receptacles of memory, there to concentrate all the perspicacity of his 
divining power. 

1 Rouage — The works of a watch, the "movement." 

2 The meaning of indirect here is gathered from the author's illustration. The 
human voice is one thing ; the undulatory current another. The result in a receiving 
telephone is the human voice indirectly transmitted : it has suffered transformation 
and retransformation in the passage. The case may be the same when thought is 
supposed to be transmitted from one brain'to another. — Translator. 


Of objects belonging to the same category, only a very small 
number will be in sight and capable of being chosen for the experi- 
ment. Suppose the thing to be thought of is a flower, assuredly one 
will not choose Scrophularia nodosa, nor Contrayerva officinalis, which 
one would find it difficult to bring clearly before his imagination : one 
will choose a rose, a lilac, a violet, and then from time to time he will 
meet with success. The subject will divine (that is the word) our 
thought. But that is not what I want. I want a fact of actual 
thought-transference wherein shall be nothing to be divined, and 
wherein the unconscious may calculate as it will without prejudicing 
the precision of the experiment. 

What I want is that a subject in nowise forewarned, nor expecting 
anything, neither seeing nor hearing anything, shall manifest the 
action of my thought by some reflex action visibly connected with that 
psychic impulse. I shall be content with any sign however slight, but 
it must be a sure sign and a constant, and it must be one that cannot 
be referred to any other cause but my mental action. That is what I 
want ; and till I have in my hands a fact of that sort I shall not have 
subjective impression of the reality of a mental action ; but till then it 
will not be worth while to make a special, thorough study of the 
matter and to brave the prejudices of the scientific. 

The fitting occasion for that decisive experiment was not long in 



I WAS attending a lady suffering from hysterepilepsy, whose 
ailment, already of long standing, was aggravated by an attack 
of suicidal mania. Mrs. M., 27 years old, strong, and of good consti- 
tution, has the look of perfect health (hypnoscopic exp. : insensibility 
and almost instantaneous contracture of the entire arm). Convulsive 
seizures of the major hysteria dating from childhood, almost. Heredi- 
tary influences very strong. For some time past, besides these princi- 
pal symptoms, at sundry periods, attacks of mental alienation, with 
congestion of the anterior lobes and anaemia of the posterior lobes of 
the brain ; paralytic, nervous, fainting fits, and epileptic seizures of 
brief duration. Transient contractures and amblyopy, more marked 
on the left side. A single hysterogenic point beneath the left clavicle. 
A delirogenic point on the right occiput corresponding to the superior 
occipital fossa. No anaesthesis. Pressure on the ovaries arrests the 
attack for a moment. Sensitive to tin, but also to other metals in 
different and varying degrees. Temperament active and sprightly, 


combined with extreme inner moral sensibility, that is to say, without 
external signs. Character eminently truthfui, kindliness very marked, 
disposition to self-sacrifice. Intelligence remarkable, many talents, 
capacity of observation. Momentary lack of will-power, painful 
indecision, but afterward exceptional firmness. The least moral 
fatigue, an unexpected impression of small importance, whether 
pleasant or painful, is reflected on the vasomotors, though slowly 
and imperceptibly, and brings on an attack or a nervous fainting 

One day, or rather one night, her attack having passed away 
(including the delirium phase) the patient was sleeping quietly. 
Awaking suddenly and seeing us (a woman friend and me) beside her 
bed, she begged us to go and not to tire ourselves for her sake to no 
purpose. She was so pressing that in order to save her a nervous 
crisis we left her. I went downstairs slowly (she lived on the third 
floor), but halted several times and listened, being haunted by a pre- 
sentiment of mischief (she had given herself several wounds a few 
days before). Reaching the courtyard I halted once again, consider- 
ing whether I should leave or not. Suddenly the window was opened 
noisily, and I saw the patient lean out with a rapid movement. I 
sprang to the spot whereon she would fall, and mechanically, without 
attaching any importance to what I did, I concentrated my will to 
withstand her fall. It was a silly thought, and I was but imitating 
the action of billiard players, who, foreseeing a cara?nbolage, strive to 
stop a ball by gestures and speech. 

Yet the patient, already leaning out over the window sill, stopped 
and drew back slowly and by degrees. 

The performance was repeated five times in succession, and at last 
the patient, as if fatigued, stood motionless, her back resting against 
the frame of the window, 1 which remained open. 

She could not see me, for I was in shadow and night was falling. 
At that moment Miss X., the patient's friend, ran in and seized her by 
the arms. I heard' them struggling and hastened upstairs to help. I 
found the patient in a fit of insanity. She did not recognize us, 
taking us for robbers. I succeeded in releasing her grip on the 
window frame only by pressure on the ovaries, which made her fall 
upon her knees. Again and again she tried to bite me and only with 
much difficulty was I able to put her again in bed. Keeping up with 
one hand the pressure on the ovaries, I brought about the contracture 
of the arms, and at last endormed her. 

Once in the somnambulic state, her first words were, " I thank vou 
and beg pardon." Then she told me that she had wished to throw 
herself out of the window, but that whenever she attempted it, she 
felt herself " lifted from beneath." 

1 The " French " style of window,* hinged on the side. — Translator. 


" How so ? " I asked. 

" I do not know." 

" Did you suspect I was there ? " 

" No ; it was just because I thought you had gone away that I 
wanted to carry out my plan. Yet it seemed to me now and again 
as if you were beside me or at my back, and that you did not want 
me to fall." 

This experiment — or rather accident — was, of course, not enough to 
prove action at a distance. But it suggested to me the thought of 
studying the question anew. As there was an appearance of action, 
it was a very easy matter to test it experimentally. But in order to 
have the conditions just what they ought to be, I breathed not a word 
to any one about what I purposed to do, and I even resolved to wait 
a few days, so as to arrange the details of the experiment. 

I had been in the habit of endorming the patient every other day, 
and I used to leave her in profound slumber (aideic state) while I 
made my notes. Two months' experience gave me the assurance that 
she would not stir till I should approach her in order to induce som- 
nambulism proper. But this day, after taking a few notes and with- 
out changing my attitude (I was several yards distant from the patient, 
outside of her field of vision, with my note-book on my knee and my 
head supported by my left hand), I pretended to be writing, making 
the pen scratch as it had been doing, but inwardly I concentrated my 
thought upon an order I gave her as follows : ' 

December 2. 
1. Lift the right hand ! 
I watch the patient, looking through 

the fingers of my left hand 

on which my forehead 


1st minute : no action. 

2d minute : agitation in the right 

3d minute : agitation increases, 

patient frowns and raises the 

right hand. 

This experiment, I confess, moved me more than any other. 

2. Get up and come hither ! 

(I lead her back to her place with- 
out uttering a word.) 

3. Take off bracelet from left arm 

and hand it to me ! 
I touch her on the right arm, and 
perhaps give it a slight push 
in the direction of her left 
arm, while I concentrate my 
thought upon the order 

Patient frowns, stirs, rises slowly 
and with difficulty, comes to 
me with hand outstretched. 

No action. 

She puts forth her left hand, rises, 
and goes in the direction of 

Miss , then toward the 

piano. She sits down exhaust- 
ed. She takes off her bracelet. 
(Seems to be reflecting. ) Gives 
it to me. 
1 Most of these experiments were communicated to the Society of Physiological 

Psychology, January 25, 1886. Some of them have been published in the Revue 

P hilosophique , August, 1886. 



4. Get up, draw the armchair up 
to the table, sit beside us ! 

I check her hand thus astray. 

5. Hold out the right hand ! 

Stay seated ! 

Give the left hand ! 

Give the left hand ! 
Not that ; the other ! ; 

She frowns, gets up, and comes 
toward me. 

" I have yet something to do." 
Seeking something ; touches the 
stool and displaces a glass of 

She steps back, seizes the arm- 
chair, pushes it toward tlie 
table with a smile of satisfac- 
tion, and sits down, dropping 
into the chair through fatigue. 

' ' They tell me to carry, and do 
not tell me what. Why do 
they speak so indistinctly ? " 

She stirs. 

Holds the right hand out. 

Tries to rise. 

She settles herself again in the 

Movement of left hand, but she 
does not hold it out. Rises 
and goes to the sofa. 

Gives the right. 

Gives the left hand. 

It is to be remarked that even in the waking state the patient 
often mistakes one side for the other. 

During experiment 5 active somnambulism manifests itself ; the pa- 
tient converses with us in a playful vein. She no longer obeys the 
orders.- " I am now going to sleep," she said. 

She slept. During the sleep there were some traces of an hysteric 
attack. At length she seemed to awake. " There is a tingling in my 
head," said she, "that will not let me sleep. I don't want to sleep 
any longer. Sit by me." " Are you still in somnambulism ? " I asked. 
"Yes." (This patient was able to note each phase of her state with 
wonderful precision — a very rare circumstance, indeed. I often pre- 
tended not to recognize the state she was in, so that she herself might 
describe it.) 

" And if you go to sleep in that state, is it all the same as if you 
were in the waking state ? " " Oh, no ; for now the legs and the body 
go to sleep first, and then the head. The head, too, awakes first, so 
that I can easily tell whether I have slept well or not ; whereas when 
I go to sleep from the waking state, I go to sleep in the head and I 
know nothing more. Then, too, when I converse, being magnetized, 
I am resting all the same ; whereas if I were to converse in the waking 
state my head would be tired and drowsy." 

1 All these orders were given mentally and without gesture, 

No word was 


December 3. 

Mrs. M. is endormed by the process of gazing, 1 and falls into a 
very profound slumber {paralytic aideid). 

6. Answer whether you hear me? | No action. 

I put the same question viva voce. She does not hear. A moment 
later she stirs slightly. 

"You did not hear me just now?" I asked. "No!" "Why?" 
" Because my sleep was too deep." "Will there be an attack this 
evening?" "No!" 

I therefore left her to herself, and a few minutes afterward began 
the experiments again. 

7. Give me your right hand ! 
Give me your hand ! 
No matter which hand. 

No result. 
- Gives the left. 

If at this moment I speak to her, touching her at the same time,, 
she replies ; if I speak to her without touching her, she hears only 
unintelligible sounds. 

I tell her that I am obliged to be absent fifteen minutes ; once out- 
side, I try to call her mentally : 

8. Come hither ! Frowning. 

General agitation of the body. 

Here the experiment is interrupted by a singular accident. The 
action from a distance produces in her a general hyperesthesia, and 
in that state she " feels incommoded by something on her right ; " 
" an unbearable stench horrifies her ; " " an imaginary noise, produced 
by the irritation and congestion of the brain, prevents her hearing " 

" It seemed to me," she said, " that I must get up and walk about ; 
but that horrible atmosphere was suffocating me. That thing (cela) 
prevented me ; that thing does not love you, but that thing is ashamed 
to confess it." 

"What is it, pray?" "I do not know; but deliver me from that 
thing " — and she made .gestures of repulsion toward the right. We 
saw nothing out of the common in that direction. At last I noticed 
that there was on the flower stand a new plant, and I removed it. 
" Ah, at last ! " said the patient ; " thank you ; I was near having a 

The new plant had been brought that day by one of her friends, a 
lady for whom, in the normal state, she had a strong liking, but whom 
in the somnambulic state she could not endure even at the distance 
of several yards. This I knew already, having witnessed a terrible 

1 Par le regard. 


paroxysm caused solely by the presence of this lady ; but it nevei 
occurred to me to suppose that an object that had belonged to her 
would have the same influence. First I thought the patient's abhor- 
rence of the plant might be due to its odor, but it was nearly odorless. 
Then I made several experiments with objects coming from the lady, 
mixed with other objects. For instance, I placed upon the couch 
beside the patient, yet at some distance, a roll of music brought by 
this same lady. Having just touched it lightly with her hand in 
making a gesture, she drew herself away from it quickly, asking who 
it was that was treating her so ill. So with other objects. She never 
made out what was the matter, but she always was conscious of an 
antipathic influence. Even a playing-card coming from the lady, and 
shuffled with several others, was rejected as " disagreeable." I must 
add that the young lady in question was a great friend of Mrs. M., 
and was jealous of the influence I exercised over my subject. 

December 5. 

(Our patient, on awaking, passes momentarily through a transient 
state of monoideism, and then she has always a sense of the mental state 
of the persons around her. She will say : " Why have you greater 
confidence to-day?" "Why is she so worried (or so happy) to-day?" 
And so on. But once fully awake, she no longer has this sense.) 

9. An experiment in the state of 
/ism. 1 

genial, active somnambu- 

No action. 

(Patient is half awake ) 
" Where is she — Mary ? She must 
have a wearisome task to per- 
form. I believe she is think- 
ing of nothing, for I have no 
feeling of her. " 

Wishing to sit back of the table I came near falling, the chair being 
lower than I thought. The patient uttered a cry. "What is the mat- 
ter?" I asked. "It seemed to me," she answered, "as though some- 
thing were giving way beneath me." 

If any one pinches me she complains of it, yet she does not know it 
is I that suffer. I tell her that I want to put her a few questions. 
" Then endorm me a little more," she said ; so I make a few passes in 
front of her eyes. At this moment she is in passive somnambulism, i. c., 
she answers easily and volubly every question put by me (and by me 
alone), but does not of her own accord say anything. 

"Can you tell me," I ask, "in what degree of sleep you undergo 
the action of my thoughts ? " 

"When the members sleep in very deep slumber," (each part of 

1 So7iina??ibulisme actif gai. In the original this exp. is numbered 8, and the 
"words of the subject are given in the text, not in two columns, like the others. The 
author forgot to state the order given to the subject. — Translator. 


her body can be put to sleep and awakened separately), " and when I 
cannot think by myself." 

"But if, then, I order you to rise, you will not be able to do so ?" 
"Alone, no ; but if you will it strongly something will lift me." 
" Do you know beforehand what I require of you ? " 
"No, but it gives me an impulsion ; and I prefer you to divide your 
thought. I cannot take it in all at once. I do not understand the 
words, and I believe that you might think in any language whatever ; 
I feel only an impulsion that comes upon me and at last controls me." 
(Here I gave some explanations to Marie.) I now asked : " Did you 
hear what I said ? " 

" I heard you speaking, but understood nothing, for you had not 
the intention to be understood by me." 

" If I do not address my speech to you, what do you do mentally ? 
Do you think of anything ? " 

"When I am in light sleep as now, I can think well if you are near 
me j but if you withdraw there is a veering in my head 1 as though 
you were to leave me in a dark room." 

"And if I were to put you in a deeper sleep ? " 

" In that case I should know nothing, and were you to leave me, I 
should remain just so, not suffering anything." 

" In what state, then, in your opinion, is thought-action easiest ? " 
"For that the sleep must be very deep, but I must hear you all the same. 
In fact, I hear you always, or at least I think I do (plainly the som- 
nambule could not know whether she heard me in the state of abso- 
lute aideism) ; still, sometimes I hear only detached words; for ex- 
ample, you put me the question, ' Do you hear me at this moment ? ' 
and I hear only ' hear ' and ' moment ; ' or again, I hear all the words, 
but each word isolated, so that when you are at the end of a phrase / 
have forgotten the beginning ; the first words are gone from me (mon- 
oideism). Sometimes, too, I hear you and understand you well, but 
I have not the strength to answer." 

" And in the state you are in at this moment could you receive my 
thought ? " " No," she said. I gave her, mentally, the order " Awake ! " 
No result. But some minutes later she said of her own accord : 
" Awaken me ; " and then- 1 was able to awaken her from a distance. 
(A simple yea never sufficed to awaken her.) 

December 7. 

The patient is in the aideic state and partly tetanized — arms in con- 
tracture, the legs a little stiff. 

10. Rise, go to the piano, take a 
box of matches, bring it to 
me, light a match, go back 
to your place ! 

She rises with difficulty. 

Comes near me. 

1 77 se fait un revirement dans ma tete. 




Go to the piano ! 

Come back ! 
Still farther ! 
I stop her with my hand. 

Lower ! 

Lower ! 

Take the match-box ! 

Take the match-box ! 

Come to me ! 

Light ! 

Light ! 

Light ! 

Go back to your place ! 

Bring the right hand to my 

Raise it ! 
Raise it ! 
Give it to be kissed ! 

Not that ! To my mouth ! 

To the lips ! 

Goes to the piano, but passes 

Turns back. 
Goes toward the door. 
Returns to the piano. 
Seeks too high. 
No result. 
Lowers her hand. 
Touches the box, then retreats. 
Touches it again, and takes it. 
Comes to me. 

Wants to pass the match-box to me. 
Takes out a match. 
Lights it. 

Returns to her place. 
Her right hand stirs. 

No result. 

Raises the hand. 

Brings the right hand to her face ; 

removes her cravat. 
Brings her right hand near my 

Brings it to my lips. 

December 9. 
The patient is sleeping well ; aideic state, with tendency to con- 

12. Lie on the right side. 

I suppressed the contracture 
by means of a light mas- 
sage. I take her hand, and, 
at a given moment, try 
mentally to 

Produce contracture in the left 



No result. She rises and stops ; her 
whole body contractured, perhaps 
under the influence of my gaze, 
which was fixed intently upon her. 

Lie down ! 

The left arm almost instantly 

becomes stiff. 
No action. 

At this moment there is a state of hyperacusia : the slightest noise 
irritates her ; then she falls again into a state of general immobility. 

Then suddenly : " I do not hear your thoughts well, because either 
I sleep too soundly or not deeply enough." 

Opening her left eye produces catalepsy in the right arm, then in 
both arms. Opening the right eye produces no result at all. 

15. Ordered to scratch her cheeks. | No action. 

At this moment a flaming match held before one of her eyes, opened 
for the purpose, produces no re'fiex action. Even the contraction of 


the pupil is not as great as usual, though but a moment before the 
contraction was nearly normal, and the patient said she saw " a little 
brightness." Now she says she sees nothing. I awaken her ; she 
seems to be pretty well, but little by little a paroxysm comes on. I 
stop it by magnetizing her anew. 

December n. 

(Experiments made in presence of Mr. Sosnowski, engineer.) 
The patient doing well. I put her to sleep in two minutes, and 
show the three principal states, viz.: 

i. A'ideia (without thought, very deep sleep). 

2. Monoideia (one thought alone possible). 

3. Polyideia (somnambulism properly so-called). 

Then by means of a few passes in front of her eyes, I deepen the 
sleep to the transition degree betwixt aideia and monoideism. She 
now hears me even without touch, but she is totally paralyzed and 

16. Come to me ! She rises and comes straight to me. 
I change position and hide as far 

away as possible. 

17. Shake hands with Mr. S.! 
(The experiment was proposed by 

Mr. S.) 

At this moment the opening of her eyes did not produce catalepsy. 
The touch of Mr. S., as of every stranger, is highly disagreeable to 
her. She will not allow them even to come within two feet of her. 

December 18. 

18. An experiment in the state of No action. 

active somnambulism, be- A few minutes later the paroxysm 
fore the paroxysm. comes. Then I put her into 

deep sleep for the whole night. 

She awoke quite well the next day. 

December 27. 

In endorming the patient I prolong the passes beyond the usual time y 
for without the passes she fell asleep with difficulty. The sleep 
becomes very deep. She no longer hears me at all. The pulse is 
weak and uneven, pulsations 80. The respiration is short and inter- 
mittent. I quiet her by laying my hand upon the pit of the stomach. 

She extends the right hand and 
gives it to Mr. S. 

19. The subject is to go to the 
table, take a cake and give 
it to me. (Seeing that the 
sleep is too deep, I " awak- 
en " her arms and ears. 
She hears 1 me without my 
touching her.) 

No result. 

She rises. 
Comes to me. 

1 " 

Hears " his thoughts. — Translator. 


I stop her. 

Extend the arm ! 


Lower ! 

Stands hesitating in the middle of 

the room. 
Approaches the table. 
No action. 

She extends the arm. 
She gropes on one side. 
She touches the cake and starts. 
She takes it and gives it to me. 

Take it and give it to me ! 

She is evidently fatigued ; her eyelids droop. "Why," I asked her, 
■"did you take the cake and give it to me ? " 

"Because all the other objects were strange, while the cake seemed 
to me well known. But I did. not know it was a cake. I knew only 
that it was something less repellant than the strange objects. I was 
not sufficiently asleep (active somnambulism.) My ears should not be 

A few minutes later an experience was had, all the more curious 
because unexpected. I was absorbed in thinking of a matter of per- 
sonal concern that troubled me the whole day, and despite its inti- 
mate nature I must make it known here in order that the reader may 
understand the occurrence. 

The case of Mrs. M. taking up all my time, I neglected several 
affairs, so that I found myself greatly straitened for money. My 
attendance on the patient was wholly gratuitous and I did not wish 
that she should have any suspicion of my embarrassment. As I 
could not leave her because of the seriousness of her condition (she 
was constantly subject to fits of suicidal mania) my thoughts were 
ever returning to the question of finance. 

I chatted with the patient pleasantly, but perhaps my voice betrayed 
my unrest, and I saw that she divined what was in my mind. She 
halted in the conversation and became pensive. From long-continued 
observation I too was able to guess the thoughts that occupied her 
mind. After reflection she said to herself : " He is in trouble ; he 
must be helped ; but if I am awakened I shall forget all. What shall 
I do ? " 

She reflected' on the problem and hit upon a plan. She took off a 
finger ring, as was her custom whenever she desired to remember any- 
thing, and her face showed a strong resolution not to forget the mean- 
ing of that act. 

" You must not think about that," I said. 

" If I want to think of it, you will not hinder me " — and she made 
pretense of not caring about the matter, in order that I might not 

Some minutes later I mentally gave her the order to forget the pro- 
ject. That instant she suddenly withdrew her hand. 

"Do not touch me," she said,. "for I feel my thought is leaving 

7 o 


" It will leave you anyhow,'' I said, and made a few passes to make 
her sleep deeper. 

" Do not put that out of my head ! Oh ! you have no pity. What 
was I thinking of just now ? I wished to remember something. I 
have quite lost it." A few minutes later I noticed on her counte- 
nance tokens of renewed mental action. The sleep was become less 
deep ; the thought had come back to her, and again she strove to 
evade my influence, requesting me to wake her as slowly as possible 
"■ for fear of a paroxysm." I awakened her very gently, suggesting 
cheerful thoughts on her coming out of sleep. Once awake she be- 
came pensive and put her hand to her forehead. 

"It seems to me," she said, "that there is something I have to re- 
member, but I don't know what." She examined the ring again and 
again. " No, I do not remember anything." 

She was cheerful and talked freely with us. 

Here are two more experiments in the waking state. 

20. What is it I want this moment ? 

21. And now ? (My wish was that 
she might take a cake.) 

It is true, you want something. She 
looks round about as if seek- 
ing something. Then peering 
into my eyes, says ; ' ' You 
want a little wine for tea." 

No ; I know nothing any more ; I 
feel nothing. 

December 28. 

Endormed in the morning, she recalls her memory of yesterday, and 
tries once again to fix it in her mind. She finds a new means of doing 
this. Suddenly she uttered an exclamation — a phrase that could not 
be understood by us, but which, when recalled at waking, would call 
up in her mind the plan contrived the evening before. Then, to guard 
against an influence, she stops her ears and begins to mutter so as not 
to hear me. 

22. I give her mentally the order to forget. She thinks she has 
won and asks to be awakened slowly. I awaken her. The mnemo- 
technic phrase is repeated to her. " What does it mean ? " I asked. 
" I do not understand it all," she replied ; and she thought no more 
about it. In the evening she had a slight attack of delirium. She 
had an hallucination that she was a dead person. The attack ended 
in a general contracture : this I suppressed. She then fell back upon 
the cushions and remained motionless. 

23. Get up and come to me ! 

I She stirs a little. Result=o. 

At this moment she was in very profound sleep (paralytic aideia). 
She does not hear me unless I touch her. 



She hears the " noise" of my voice, 
but does not understand. 

Same imperfect result. I cannot 
make myself understood. At 
last, after several minutes, she 
hears me clearly. 

24. I want you to hear me ! 

25. Ditto. I excite the ears a little 
by movements of the fingers, 
which usually produce hy- 

26. I now purposed to make her 
hear the voice of Miss * * *, 
which she does not hear of 
her own accord. (Puyse- 
gur's experiment.) Result = o. 

I touch the hand of Miss * ** She hears the voice like a whisper 
while she is speaking. or rather as pretty loud sounds, 

but not understandable. She 
hears the voice without my 
touching Miss * * *. Again 
I touch Miss * * *, but the 
patient does not hear the 
words spoken. 

These experiments were probably spoiled by the patient's incon- 
stant and pathological state. After some minutes : 

27. Give the other hand ! 
holding the left). 

(I was 

28. Ask what I want ! (This with- 
out touching.) 
What is it ? What do you wish 
to say ? (Aloud.) 

29. Open your eyes and awake 

The right hand stirs. (It was in 

She raises it a little. 

She stretches her right hand toward 
me with much difficulty, " for 
it is stiff." She gives it to 
me, then falls back on the pil- 
low very much fatigued. 

Result = o. 

Something urged me to put a ques- 
tion — I don't know what — I 
have forgotten. Things are 
all mixed in my head. 

Result = o. 

She moves her head to right and 
left, then the right arm, but 
does not awake. 

At this moment she was absorbed by a somnambulic reverie, which 
reduced the sensibility. I tried to awaken her by spoken order, but 
the result was only a fatiguing drowsiness, and after several minutes 
I was obliged to have recourse to passes. 

Dece?nber 31. 

The patient is feeling well. I produce easily whatever states I 
wish, and halt at a phase intermediate between lethargy and monoide- 
ism. She hears me, but me only, and she cannot answer save by 
signs or by detached words. 

7 2 


30. Get up, go to your brother, 
and kiss him ! 

Why do you start ? 

vShe gets up. 

Moves toward me, then goes back 

toward her brother. 
Stops before him, hesitating, goes 

slowly up to him and kisses 

him on the forehead with a 

Because it is something strange. 

(She loves her brother dearly.) 

There was a serious paroxysm that evening ; she gave herself 
several cuts on the temple with a knife. I came in time to prevent 
suicide, and endormed her with much difficulty. She did not recog- 
nize me. She begged my pardon in somnambulism, at the same time 
complaining that the knife was not sharp enough. 

The normal state did not return till after two hours of sleep. The 
hysterepileptic seizures do not recur any more, but the paroxysms of 
mental alienation and the fainting-fits are still frequent. 

January 6. 

The patient was lying on the couch and heard nothing. I went 
out noiselessly to make an experiment at a distance. 

31. Get up and be seated till I 
come back ! 

She frowns, her respiration grows 
rapid, but she does not move. 

The experiment had lasted hardly a minute when it was inter- 
rupted. She was not very well, so I gave up the experiment in 
order to attend to the patient. 

January 10. 

I endormed the patient by passes at a distance, that is, without 
touching her. Then I try to 

32. Produce deep natural sleep in 
artificial somnambulism. 

Some seconds after the beginning 
of the mental action, I hear 
snoring, the lips open and so 

A few minutes after, this state ceases. I begin anew. 

33. (As above.) 

Open your mouth ! 
Close your mouth ! 

She slept well the whole night. 

Same signs, minus the opening of 

the mouth. 
She opens her mouth and sleeps ; 

respiration rapid. 
No action, probably because her 

sleep was so deep 


January 1 1 . 
State of aideic lethargy, with tendency to contractures. 

35. Extend the right arm. Right arm stirs. 

Same phenomenon seven times 

Slight movement of left arm. 
She rises partly. 
Falls back. 
Extends the right arm. 

At this moment she hears me, but finds difficulty in answering me. 

She recognizes an object belonging to me among four like objects, 
pointing it out as " best known." (She sees it now for the first time, 
but so she always speaks of what belongs to me, what I have touched, 
or concentrated my thought upon.) She rejected one object among 
five that were alike — the object rejected belonged to Miss X., whose 
presence is to her insupportable. Three different fingers touch her, 
she recognizes mine ; and so on. She asks for a drink, and some one 
puts a glass of water to her lips ; but she notices nothing and keeps 
asking for a drink. If I hold the glass she recognizes it at once, and 
drinks with pleasure. (This phenomenon is of daily occurrence.) 

January 14. 

Mrs. M. falls asleep with difficulty, but her sleep is exceedingly 
deep. Even after half-an-hour she does not hear me. There is no 
contracture. The head is not very hot. The members are not cold. 
The pulse is pretty regular, 80 pulsations. From time to time some 
slight tremor of the fingers. The nervomuscular superexcitability 
does not exist. The members retain the posture given them. Conse- 
quently there is a state of cataleptic aideia. 

36. I wish you to hear me. No action. A minute later seve- 

ral fainting spells. 

Because of the pathological state, no conclusion is to be drawn 
from this check in the state of cataleptic aideia. Little by little she 
passes of her own accord into the somnambulic delirium. An hour 
later, acting more powerfully, I brought about a calm somnambulism. 

37. Sleep well the whole night ! She does sleep well the whole night. 

She awakes quite well, barring an amblyopy that soon passed 

January 18. 

The improvement in Mrs. M.'s health permits me to make a few 
new experiments. I endorm her as usual. Then I endormed her 
brother also, and he remained motionless in an armchair in the mid- 
dle of the room. He was in a state of mild paralytic aideia, easily 
effaced, but from which he could riot come out by himself. Mrs. M. 



lay on the couch at the lower end of the room, in passive somnam- 
bulism. By means of a few passes I put her into a deeper sleep — a 
little too deep even — and I withdraw to begin the experiments. 

38. I order her mentally to kneel 
in the middle of the room. 

I take hold of her hand. 

Kneel ! 

Result = o. 

She stirs. (Afterward she said that 
she was sleeping very well, 
when something awakened 

She gets up and walks toward the 
middle of the room, where she 
encounters her brother. This 
time she does not start at all; 
on the contrary, she feels of 
him with a certain satisfaction 
and a little astonishment. 

Then she goes back to the couch 
and sits down. 

After two minutes of hesitation she 

She told us afterward that it was her brother that had put her "off 
the scent." " I knew not what to do," she said ; "I sensed you here 
and there. That confused me. There was 'another you' in the 
middle of the chamber." 

" ' Another me ? ' How is that ? " 

" Something that was you. I don't know. But that confused me." 

January 24. 
She was put to sleep in the armchair (aideia, then monoideism). 

39. Ordered to blow out a lighted 

wax candle on the piano. 

She stands so near to the candle 
that I blow it out myself, 
lest her gown take fire. 

Give me the candle ' 

40. Give me your left hand ! 
(I held her right.) 

41. Come to me. 

(This experiment was per- 
formed with many precau- 
tions ; the somnambule was 
not aware that I had retired 
and was acting, at a distance 
of several yards, from the 
rear end of the hallway.) 

She rises. 

Comes toward me, then goes 
toward the piano. 

Touches the music as she gropes. 

Removes the candlestick. 

Takes the candle out of the can- 
dlestick and brings it to me. 

Raises the left hand and gives it 
to me. 


She rises. 

Extends the right arm, advances, 
opens the door, and goes 
straight into the hallway, 
where I hasten to meet her. 

She showed pleasure in encounter- 
ing my hand, then she returned 
slowly to the drawing-room. 

That same evening I made two experiments more, to test my per- 
sonal magnetic action. 


As I have already said, whenever the patient touched a "strange" 
object or person, i. e., outside of my influence, there was a start and 
an instinctive repulsion. This I wished to verify. I requested her 
brother to take, unnoticed by her, a seat not far from her, a little 
behind where she was. Then, by exerting an attractive action upon 
her arm, I so guided her that she by chance touched th» arm of her 
brother. There was a shudder of repulsion, and a repetition of the 
experiment gave the same result. Then I endormed the brother, 
unknown to the subject, where he sat, and began the attraction again.' 
She was obliged to touch her brother several times, but no more repul- 
sion was shown. 

Another comparative experiment was made during normal sleep. 
Three hands, of three different persons, were brought within a few 
inches of her head. After a minute she became slightly agitated, 
raised her hand above her head, as feeling for something, pushed 
away the other two hands, and drew mine to her. Almost immediately 
the natural sleep was transformed into somnambulism. Not knowing 
that I was there, she was astonished to see me near her 

E'ebruary 4. 

On awaking she showed, as usual, her sensibility with regard to the 

psychic state of those present. " I am very angry at Marie," she said. 

"Why so ?" " Because all the time she has been trying to keep me, 

and it is absolutely necessary for me to go." (That was exactly so.) 

February 5. 

The hysterogenic point beneath the left clavicle no longer exists. 
But she does not yet feel the warmth of my hand at the back of *-he 
head (delirogenic point). In somnambulism, her sensibility is already 
normal. Magnetization checks the beginning of a paroxysm of 
delirium. Aideia, 82 pulsations. After thirty minutes of this state 
the head grows cooler. A few minutes later passive somnambulism 
appears, and then active somnambulism. Then she asks me to 
awaken "her whole body except the front of the head." In this 
state she manifests a very high degree of sensibility. She notices 
everything, but feels a difficulty in reflecting. If one pinch jne, or strike 
me, it hurts her. She describes perfectly my mental state, or rather 
my sensations. The touch of a stranger is still disagreeable to her. 
I give myself a pinch. " I do not like that," she said. 

In general she is not obedient in this state, in spite of the trans- 
mission of sensations ; she is too irascible for that. She undergoes 
the influence of my sensations, but not of my will. The memory 

After an hour this state disappears and she falls into her normal 


Here I stop. The history of this patient has been most instructive 
to me. I have with regard to her case a great volume of notes taken 
on the spot, and having a bearing upon sundry other questions, 
among which the question of therapeutic holds the foremost place. 
Next comes the question of mental suggestion, that of physical 
action, that of hypnotic phases, and a few others of less importance. 
I have purposely left out whatever was not directly concerned with 
psychic transmission,' so as not to complicate the task of the reader, 
who will find here quite enough if he will but study with the necessary 
attention the details given above. 

I have left out nothing — quite the reverse — that had to do with our 
principal subject. I have given all the experiments, even those which 
of necessity had to be inconclusive and resultless, or which could be 
successful only in part, because of accidental circumstances. Hence, 
the general effect of this narrative will be less conclusive for the 
reader than for myself. As for me, I am free to confess it, these 
experiments were decisive. At last I have the personal Impression I 
sought so long, of a true, direct, indubitable action. I was fully sure 
that there was neither chance, coincidence, nor suggestion by attitude 
or gesture, nor any other possible cause of error. Wherever these 
influences were for a moment added, I have pointed them out, and the 
reader will himself be able to appreciate them in accordance with the 
principles already set forth. But a point that may have escaped the 
reader, just because of the strictly objective manner of this account, 
is that from the second week forward I was already master of the 
phenomenon, and that if in the subsequent experiments there still 
were checks, that was solely because I wished to verify the impossi- 
bility or difficulty of success in certain hypnotic phases. Whenever I 
produced the phase of sleep favorable to these experiments, they were 
always successful. The reader will not wonder that I was delighted 
with this discovery. For me, a phenomenon is not a scientific fact if 
one is obliged to accept it purely and simply as an accident distinctly 
seen, clearly controlled, but which has come about one knows not how, 
and which is not repeated one knows not why. 

And that was just the case with all the experiments in mental sug- 
gestion hitherto known, even with those cited in the first two chap- 
ters, and which so astonished me. Mr. D. divined several letters, and 
even whole words, one after another, under pretty stringent condi- 
tions. But what annoyed me was that after a series of amazing suc- 
cesses, there were other series in which the transmission seemed 
absolutely in default. And yet the subject kept on divining, and 
divined amiss, wholly amiss. Why ? I could not tell ; but this 
inconstancy of the phenomenon discredited in my eyes results the 
most astonishing. This all the more that on some occasions I suc- 
ceeded in mentally representing to myself the object with great 


distinctness. For example, I represent to myself a lamp, and I 
almost see it flaring before the eyes of my imagination. 

" It is a book" says the subject. Seeing that I do not confirm this 
conjecture, "No," says he, "it is a cigar." 

Is not that enough to disconcert a skeptic, particularly one but 
little prepossessed ? 

Well, I now understood this unevenness, this inconstancy of phe- 
nomena : Direct mental suggestion is possible only in one state, and 
that a transition state between two others. Though I was able to 
fix that state for a few moments, by graduating the sleep almost at 
will, that was not possible to do in the waking state, wherein each 
moment brings change, without which, as Bain very well says, there 
is no consciousness, and wherein this change, as such, is not appre- 
ciable for the subject. Thus it sometimes happened that Mr. D. 
would say to me : " I feel well disposed to-day." Yet the experi- 
ments would be unsuccessful, while on another day they would pro- 
ceed far better, despite his untoward presentiments. 

All was now comparatively cler.r to me; we must regard thought- 
transference as a sort of audition. 

One does not hear who is deaf ; one does not hear when there is 
too much noise ; one does not hear when one is absorbed in thought. 

One is deaf to a transference of thought when one sleeps so soundly 
that the brain does not perform its functions. How, think you, can a 
subject sunk m prof ound paralytic aideia obey your thought if he can- 
not even hear the living voice ? He is deaf. In vain will you shout 
into his ear, a fortiori in vain will you whisper to him from a distance. 
Hence mental suggestions are still more difficult in this state of pro- 
found aideia than in the waking state, and therefore those who think 
that all that is needed in order to make one amenable to their mental 
action is to put one into the magnetic sleep, are mistaken. 

One does not hear when there is too much noise, and a hypnotized 
subject will not " hear " your thought because he is at the mercy of 
everybody ; because he has too many strong and different sensations; 
because his attention is not directed solely to you. Consequently, 
even though you were to make him hypersesthesic in every possible 
way by fixing the gaze on a shining object, or other inanimate object, 
you will not make him easily sensitive to exceedingly slight personal 
influences, such as thought-action. 

One does not hear when one's mind is occupied by other thoughts, 
because the one action excludes the other. One that is talking hears 
badly. The dreams of active somnambulism being more vivid than 
those of normal sleep and being nearly always "spoken " dreams, are 
more opposed to delicate perception than is the waking state itself. 
Consequently, it is useless to attempt direct mental suggestion with a 
somnambule that is talking with "vivacity, or who is carrying out any 


somnambulic project whatsoever ; he will not hear you. His atten- 
tion is not null, as in an hypnotized subject; but what is worse for 
your purpose, it is turned in another direction. Hence, despite the 
favorable appearances — for he can always hear you, his magnetizer 
- — the state of strongly active polyideia is no better for experimental 
purposes than that of paralytic aideia. 

Then, as regards the intermediate states : Some subjects who are 
Capable of presenting these two opposite states — aideia and polyideia 
— do not pass directly, or at least may not pass directly, from the one 
into the other. They tarry for a longer or a shorter time in the mo- 
noideic phase. You have before you no longer an inertia, a complete 
paralysis of the brain ; neither have you a»reasoning activity more or 
less like that of the waking state ; but you have to do with a brain 
that concentrates all its functional action, and that cannot but con- 
centrate it, upon a single idea standing alone and dominant. It is 
dominant, not being counterbalanced by any other thought. It is 
hallucinational for the same reason and through the vivacity, the 
physiological vitality, of a brain that has just rested itself better than 
usually (aideia), and which asks only a chance to work. Hence you 
need but little to set it a-going. A nothing moves it, a nothing con- 

That is the moment for suggestions. Mental suggestions ? Yes 
and no ! This state is still far more complex than it seems to be. The 
monoideic state, in the first place, may be two-fold — active or passive. 

When active, it approaches polyideism while remaining what it is. 
It is akin to it by a very great preponderance of one idea associated 
with a few others that are very faint. This is the state of somnambulic 
monomania. The subordinate ideas belong to the real world, the domi- 
nant one to imagination. Consequently the subject cannot make his 
way so well amid the surroundings of actual life as can an active 
somnambule proper, who reflects, perceives, shuns obstacles, and per- 
forms a difficult task. But if he sees (imperfectly) any object, his dream 
may easily persuade him to believe it a book, a lantern, or a bird, and 
then he will do a certain number of acts meet to such vision. 

This state, the state of spontaneous hallucination, is no more favor- 
able to thought-transference than is active polyideism, whereof it is 
only a lower grade as regards lucidity, but more advanced and more 
isolated as regards liveliness of sensations. 

Passive monoideism, on the other hand, comes nearer to aideia, just 
because of its character of passivity, inertia. The vividness of sensa- 
tions is the same. But they can ?w longer arise of their own accord ; 
they must be suggested, and they are suggested with the utmost ease. 
Whatever you say is law to the subject. He is under obligation to 
divine as you bid him, and the divination is done, not by reflection, 
but by unconscious, imperceptible associations which deceive you, 


which appear and disappear almost before their task is done. For 
this state is, so to speak, still more monoideic than the preceding one. 
The faint, accessory ideas are almost entirely wanting. And it is 
always a state of tension, even violent tension, like the other, with 
this difference, that the tension of active monoideism comes into play 
of itself, while the tension of passive monoideism always awaits an 
external stimulus however slight — a breath, a hint, a nothing. Bain 
would say that it is an " involuntary energy " requiring only an im- 
pulsion to show itself. 

Is this the phase for mental suggestions ? Almost ! Anyway, 
mental suggestions always act in this phase, that is to say, you have 
only to concentrate your thought strongly and the subject will per- 
ceive it. There will be first a corrugation of the eyebrows, an ex- 
pression of attention in the countenance, an agitation of the mem- 
bers, and at last a doing of your will, or a beginning of doing it. One 
thing, however, may mar the experiment : if your action is too lively 
in the beginning, or if it is too vividly (albeit indistinctly) perceived 
by the subject, it will have upon him an awakening influence — awak- 
ening in the relative meaning of the word, viz., the subject, though 
he executes your mental order, and because of the same, will pass too 
quickly into a state of sleep a little less deep, into active monoideism, 
and then will be all eagerness to execute your mental order without 
having grasped it fairly ; he will seek you, will run after you, and will 
even " insensibilize" himself ' by this involuntarily suggested mono- 
mania. Or else he will pass into a state of sleep still less profound, 
more tranquil, and at the same time more lucid, a state of active poly- 
ideism j he will begin to divine, to guess by his own reflection what 
he can no longer perceive passively, and then he will be capable of 
doing other things than you have ordered. Finally — and this hap- 
pens seldomer, but does happen with subjects that are too sensi- 
tive — the mental impulse you give him produces first excitation, after 
the manner of narcotics, and then puts him to sleep ; and the sub- 
ject, after making a beginning of carrying out the order, lapses into 
complete aideia. Thus this state does not afford us the best guaranty 
of success ; fof that we must seek a little deeper. 

The true moment for mental suggestion is the state betwixt aideia and 
passive monoideism. 

But if that is so, and if our experiment has a better chance here 
than in outright passive monoideism, the cause is simply that it has 
more time at its command, and that one usually makes too great 
an effort in beginning the mental action — a thing helpful this side the 
threshold of aideia, while beyond that it is not safe. Could we be 
certain which stage we had before us, we should have only to conform 

x S' insensibilisera I that is, will make himself insensible [to your further action]. 
— Translator. 


to its requirements; we would act with some forcefulness in aideia 
(to awaken the brain), a little more gently in monoideia (not to 
awaken it too much), and we should have free scope up to the very- 
limits of both states. In any case the brain should be " regulated ; " 
it should be regulated for nascent ?nonoideia. Permit me to illustrate 
by a comparison with the telephone. 

A telephone, unless it is well regulated, does not reproduce dis- 
tinctly speech at a distance. But in telephony, as in neurology, all is 
relative. A telephone is well regulated when the vibrating disk is 
very nigh, but not too nigh, the magnetic core of the coil ; you may 
then shout pretty loud without impairing the distinctness of the 
sounds transmitted. On the contrary, the louder you shout the better 
they hear at the other station. And they would hear better still, com- 
paratively, were the disk still nigher the core, almost touching ; but 
then, in speaking too loud there is danger of the disk sticking to the 
magnet and of almost complete failure to transmit. Medium regu- 
lation bordering on maximum is what practice requires, herein differing 
slightly from theory. 

But how " regulate " a somnambule ? Ah, that is the question 1. 
Fortunately, it is not much more difficult in hypnology than is that 
other question in telephony ; only here as there the instrument must 
be regulable. 

Subjects there are who will not be controlled in this respect ; they 
can be employed for. other purposes, or with them one has to be 
content with a hurried mental action, as has been done hitherto. 
But we must also eschew subjects that are too obedient and already 
trained — subjects worked by turning a crank, so to speak. But 
again one must learn how to bring about the degree of slumber that 
is needed. The first seances, however, must have for their one end 
purely passive observation of the effect produced by your action, in 
order to learn what kind of a subject you have. You shall spend hours, 
if needful, waiting for the subject to awake of his own accord, unless 
he asks to be awakened sooner. In subjects that are specially sus- 
ceptible of sleep — for some there are with whom you can make all 
the physical experiments, but not the psychical — you will produce 
two principal phases, namely, the deep sleep, which vanishes by de- 
grees, and the lucid sleep, of somnambulism proper. What you need is 
an intermediate state. The subject must not be allowed to become 
too much awake and to regain his spontaneous activity, nor is he to 
be put in too deep a sleep, for then he will not hear you. The best 
means to obtain this graduation is by magnetic passes, so-called, up-and- 
down and crosswise, for the depth of the slumber usually increases 
with the number of those, and lessens with the number of these. By 
making two, three, four passes right before the subject (without con- 
tact) you obtain a little less or a little more of sleep, and sometimes 


one is able to graduate at will the intermediate phases just mentioned. 
Should such graduation by passes be impossible, you will have diffi- 
culty in obtaining that result by any other means. And above all 
one must be careful not to employ different means for the different 
phases, for so one establishes an artificial ideorganic association, a bad 
habit that will disorganize the subject. 

It is understood that I do not enter here upon a discussion of the 
action of the passes. One may suppose that they exercise a physical 
action, or one purely suggestive : that is of no importance for the end- 
in view. I simply mention the oldest and best known process, which 
gives the most constant and most beneficial results as regards the 
subject (certain hypnotic processes are harmful) and which serves 
best to graduate the sleep at will whenever graduation is possible. 

Once master of your subject, you have only to avail yourself of the 
moment when he hears you and does not yet give answer well. 

Do not mistake difficulty of speaking, caused by a contracture of 
the voice-muscles, for an aphasic difficulty, i. e., one of purely cerebral 
origin. The latter is what you require. 

We will enter on some further details when we state the conclusions 
of our study. 



IN the month of November, 1885, Mr. Paul Janet, of the Institute, 
read to the Society of Physiological Psychology a communication 
from his nephew, Mr. Peter Janet, professor of philosophy in the Ly- 
ceum at Havre, entitled " Upon Some Phenomena of Somnambulism." 
This title, prudently vague, veiled some quite extraordinary revela- 
tions. The subject was a series of experiments, made by Messrs. 
Gibert and Janet, that seemed to prove not only mental suggestion 
in general but also mental suggestion from a distance of some kilo- 
meters, and urrbeknown to the subject. 

That I followed the reading of this communication with interest 
was matter of course : everybody did the same, not without a good 
measure of incredulity. Mr. Janet abstained entirely from theorizing ; 
he simply stated the facts, and left them to be believed or not. The 
communication, listened to in silence, was passed in silence, save that 
a few exceptions, of a very general character, were taken by our 
President, Mr. Charcot. Positively there was no ground for argument, 
but one might examine the facts. Having decided to do this. I took 
the first favorable opportunity to carry out my purpose. 

True, I had already made maay experiments in mental suggestion, 


and on that point I no longer had any doubt : I must needs surrender 
to evidence. But the facts recounted by Messrs. Janet and Gibert 
presented quite another character. These gentlemen carried out no 
experiments like those we have been observing in the case of Mrs. D. 
in the waking state and of Mrs. M. in the state of sleep ; they tried, 
but without success; whereas they did attain success under more 
extraordinary conditions, giving mental suggestions to be carried out 
much later, and endorming their subject at a distance. 

To me this seemed noteworthy. I wished, first of all, to verify this 
latter phenomenon, recognizing its importance for a theory of sugges- 
tion and for the problem of magnetism in general. It was evident 
that such verification would be the death of the exclusive theory of 
contemporary hypnotism, which was boasting itself to be the legitimate 
successor of animal magnetism, deceased, and destined hencefor- 
ward to take a very modest place alongside its predecessor. On the 
other hand, should Messrs. Gibert and Janet have been duped by any 
illusion, we must once again retrace our steps to see if even suggestion 
from anear be not due to some presently incomprehensible exaltation 
of the perceiving mind, and not to thought-transference in the true 
sense of the word. 

The subject of these experiments was Mrs. B., a countrywoman of 
Normandy, 50 years old, in good health, honest, very timid, intelligent, 
but quite uneducated (she cannot even write and can hardly read). 
She is of robust, sturdy constitution ; when young was hysterical, but 
was cured by an unknown magnetizer. Since, only in somnambulism 
do some traces of hysteria appear, when she is crossed. In the normal 
state, the hysteria has disappeared, but the hypnotic sensibility that 
served as its ground persists, as usual. Mrs. B., ever since childhood, 
has been subject to natural somnambulism, in which she recounts the 
singular hallucinations she experiences. The somnambulism recurs 
more frequently of late. The woman has a husband and children, who 
enjoy good health. Several physicians have, it seems, wished to 
experiment with her, but she has always rejected their propositions. 
Only at the request of Mr. Gibert did she consent to spend a little 
time in Havre. She is endormed very easily : one need but take her 
hand, grasping it gently for a few moments, intending to endorm her ; 
otherwise there is no result. After a longer or shorter time — 2 to 5 
minutes, according to the person that puts her asleep — her look becomes 
vague, the eyelids quiver with slight motions that often are very rapid, 
till the eyeball hides itself behind the lids. At the same time the chest 
rises laboredly : the subject is evidently ill at ease. Very often a 
shiver agitates the body for an instant, then she gives a deep sigh and 
throws herself backward, plunged in deep sleep. 

Hypnoscopic exp.: anaesthesia, general contracture almost instan- 
taneous, deep sleep. 


I reached Havre August 21, and found Messrs. Gibert and Janet 
so convinced of the reality of the action at a distance that they will- 
ingly assented to the minute precautions suggested to them by me so 
that I might be able to test the phenomenon. 

Mr. F. Myers and Dr. Myers (members of the London Society for 
Psychical Research), Mr. Marillier (of the Socidte' de Psychologie 
Physiologique), and myself, formed a sort of commission, and the 
details of all the experiments were arranged by us with common 

The precautions we observed in experimenting were as follows : 

1. The precise hour for the action at a distance was fixed by lot. 

2. It was not made known to Mr. Gibert till a few minutes before 
it arrived, and forthwith the members of the commission went to the 

3. Neither the subject, nor any occupant of the pavilion, 1 distant 
nearly a kilometer, knew the precise hour, or even the kind of experi- 
ment that was about to take place. 

4. To avoid involuntary suggestion, neither we nor any of those 
gentlemen entered the pavilion except to verify the sleep. 

First Experiment. — Dr. Gibert must endorm the subject from his 
office, 51 St. Quentin Street, and mentally order her to go out into the 
street. Action begins 5:50 p. m. Probable time of executing the 
order, 6:05. 

At 6 o'clock precisely we reach No. 5 Ferine Street, where the 
pavilion is, but we stand aloof, so that no one might suspect our pres- 
ence. We wait a quarter of an hour in vain ; the subject does not 
come down into the street. Consequently the experiment was a 
failure in that respect. 

We enter the pavilion, ringing the bell at the garden gate, and go 
up to the first floor, but find no one there. 

Two of us go down to the kitchen, on pretext of inquiring whether 
Mr. Gibert has yet arrived, and find the subject sitting motionless but 
awake. We pass to a chamber on the first floor, and there talk about 
the experiment, which we regard as abortive. A few minutes there- 
after the subject enters the parlor (opposite to the room we were in), 
and there we find her reclining on an easy chair in lethargy. That, it 
seems, is always the case when she is endormed by Mr. Gibert. Dr. 
Gibert is at this moment making his professional calls, and cannot 
join us. 

The subject makes answer to questions put by Mr. Janet, who of 
late has been endorming her more often than Mr. Gibert. 

Mrs. B., in somnambulism, tells of how toward six o'clock she felt 
ill at ease, and was about to go to sleep when a ring of the bell 
awakened her, and she took refuge in the kitchen ; how thereafter she 
1 Pavilion : the house at which the subject lodged. 


was unable to overcome the drowsiness, and so went up to the 
parlor. " 'Twas Mr. Gibert played me that trick," she added ; " you 
torment me ; I don't want folks to endorm me without giving me 
notice ! " 

We profit by the somnambulism to make some experiments, which 
the subject interrupts continually, asking "Where is Mr. Gibert? 
Where is he ? I must go and Look for him." She tries to get away 
from us and go into the street. We hold her back. 

After an hour we withdraw, and Mr. Janet awakens her. She recol- 
lects nothing, but she has headache, and at evening we go away ; she 
is all the time restless, falls of her own accord into somnambulism, 
and goes down into the garden seeking Mr. Gibert. They hold her 
back with difficulty, and send for Mr. Gibert, who comes and quiets 

Despite these unfavorable conditions, another experiment was- 
arranged, to come off at 12:15 that night. Mrs. B. was sure to be then 
in her natural sleep. 

Second experiment. — " From a distance to make Mrs. B. pass from her 
natural sleep into somnambulism and go find Mr. Gibert in his office 
in St. Quentin Street." 

The success of this experiment, even according to those gentlemen,, 
was hardly probable. Besides, this was the first time they ever tried 
to act during the subject's natural sleep. So it failed ; the somnam- 
bule did not come down stairs ; and, as we did not wish to disturb the 
inmates of the house, we did not go in to see whether there were any 
indications of action. So much at least is certain, that Mrs. B. did not 
leave her chamber. The only difference noticed in her behavior on 
this day as compared with other days was, that instead of rising very 
early as her custom was, she slept till after ten o'clock, and she got 
up with a headache. She went down to the kitchen and set herself 
to work, but, the headache continuing, she went again up to her 
chamber toward noon. 

Then came the third experiment. Mr. Gibert was to endorm Mrs. B. 
from his own house at 10 minutes before 12 o'clock, exerting mental 
action during 10 minutes. Mrs. B. was to be endormed and to remain 
in the parlor. At 12.07 we reach the pavilion without ringing the bell, 
and taking care to make no noise. Mrs. B. is still in her chamber. 
So as not to influence her by our presence, we send the cook to her to 
ask if she is coming down to breakfast. 

Mrs. B. is walking briskly up and down the room. " I am in a queer 
way," says she to the cook ; " I don't know what ails me. I am 
trembling ; but I will go down all the same." 

She did not come down till 10 minutes afterwards. We watch her 
from a distance. She is not quite endormed, but neither is she in her 
normal state. She seems not to see what is going on around her nor 


to know what she wishes to do. She enters one room and then 
another ; a minute later she falls into lethargy. 

The same questions, the same answers. " Again it is Mr. Gibert that 
plays this trick upon me. But I have made you wait (smiling). J have had 
time to dip my hands in water, and that kept me up for some time. But 
where is Mr. Gibert ? Why does he not come ? Why torment me so ?" 
I must go and look for him (applying both hands to her forehead). 
No ; he does not want me to go in search of him (fretfully). Why 
doesn't he wish me to go ?" 

Sundry experiments are made, in the course of which I remove her 

Mrs. B. recognized all the persons present by touching their thumb, 
and particularly by scratching lightly the thumb nail. There was no 
getting an explanation of this trick, which to her seemed quite 
natural. She would not even tell us how she hit upon it. I can only 
say that in this way she perceives really the personality, the physical 
state, sometimes also the mental state of people. After touching my 
thumb she declared that I should have great influence over her and 
that I might easily control her. " For example, I should not dare to 
say no to you," said she ; and so on. 

Thenceforward she seems really to feel my presence, and to be 
subject to a sort of attraction for me. Wishing to test the reality of 
this influence, I concentrate my thought and order her to give me 
her hand ; suddenly I see her start ; she grows excited, leans toward 
me, and holds her hand out to me. Thrice I made this experiment 
with the same success while she was in a state more or less proximate 
to monoideism. When she was in the aideic state the effect was null,. 
retarded, or incomplete ; she became agitated, but did not execute 
the mental order. 

In active somnambulism the experiments were sometimes successful, 
if I took care to select a moment of inaction. In acting while she 
talked animatedly with Mr. Janet or another person, or when she was 
absorbed in her own thoughts, I obtained no result, absolutely none. 
I had also occasion to notice that too great concentration of my own 
thought rather marred the result of the experiment ; it upset her, 
producing spasms and general tension, interfering with the exactness 
of the transmission. On the other hand, a thought formulated with 
precision but, so to speak, in passing and without special mental 
pressure, produced an action whenever the subject was amenable to 
those mysterious influences. Here are two experiments made under 
this condition of tension, which were unsuccessful. 

I was at the lower end of the room, hid behind Mr. Janet, and I 
ordered the somnambule to kneel. She manifested strong agitation, 
seemed to be looking for me, her eyes opened and remained open 
without intelligence. The state in which she was at this moment was 


like that produced by Donato when he makes his subject follow him. 
It was thus a state of fascination, with a noteworthy difference, how- 
ever. The state of fascination is a monoideic state. It is passive, 
eminently passive, when you hold the subject fast with your eye, 
operating upon him as you please. This state is sensitive to visual 
influences, to the imitation of gestures, etc., when it is calm. If, on 
the contrary, the subject, drawn by your eye, follows you, the calm 
disappears, a sort of fever seizes him, his thought is too absorbed, too 
tense in one direction to allow new influences to act ; the subject 
follows you madly, he is infuriated by the slightest obstacle, and then 
he can do nothing but follow your eye with blind obstinacy. That is 
not passive monoideia, it is active monoideia, hypnotic monomania. 

Acting mentally at a distance and unseen by the subject, I produced 
a state like this, but more agitated and less clearly defined, less fixed, 
the fixity of gaze being lacking as a support to the monomanial tend- 
ency of the subject. She was, therefore, upset, agitated, attracted, 
but indistinctly, and her mental state, which asked only to be domi- 
nated by one thought, was at the same time too much on the strain 
to grasp it. It was an almost aideic fever, because of the mingling 
of indistinct ideas. 

The subject began with rising to her feet ; then I thought I noticed 
a bending of her body as though she were about to kneel ; but this 
movement ceased and Mrs. B. straightened herself and for a moment 
remained standing. Then I changed my thought and ordered her to 
come to me and then to go upon her knees before the easy chair. 
She stepped tottering toward the chair. At that moment I pro- 
nounced mentally the words " Kneel ! " " On the floor ! " The latter 
expression caused me some uneasiness and I regretted it. " Perhaps 
she will fall to the floor and hurt herself," I thought ; so I began anew 
the mental order, " Kneel ! " 

At that instant Mrs. B. fell backward in lethargy into the arms of 
Mr. Janet. 

Another experiment, suggested by Mr. Frederic Myers, also failed, 
The somnambule was to take in her hands a cushion placed to the 
left of her on the couch. This experiment took a good deal of time, 
for the different states of the subject succeeded one another rapidly. 
At times there was no action ; at times the feverish monomanial 
agitation interfered with the distinctness of the transmission. Mrs. 
B. stretched her arms forth toward the cushion, but did not take hold 
of it. At last she rose, went to the end of the couch where the 
cushion was, paying no attention to it, and went down upon her knees — 
thus executing the order she had failed to execute when given before, 
and which I was not then thinking of. 

But, I must add, there is no certainty that in this case we have 
a retarded mentat perception of the first order ; for, inasmuch as I 


considered the first experiment a failure, I said to the gentlemen pre- 
sent that I had chosen that injunction rather than another, expressly 
because it had not succeeded definitely with my former subject. At 
that moment the somnambulc was in lethargic aideia and could not 
hear us ; but we must never trust this hypnotic deafness, for though 
it is absolute as regards reflex action, it may be that it does not ex- 
clude latent, unconscious audition, and this may manifest itself in a 
subsequent state. I may even say, I think, that the habitual over- 
looking of this fact by experimenters does a great deal toward- 
making their observations inexact. 

Finally, a third trial, in which she was ordered to give her right 
hand while I was on her left,- was only in part successful. There was 
a motion of the right arm in the direction of me, but the hand was 
not given. 

It is to be remarked that all these experiments were made by 
me without my touching the subject, who never was magnetized 
by me. She was at this moment under the influence of Mr Gibert 
(absent), and of Mr. Janet, who awakened her at length, not without 

Fourth Experiment. — On account of the patient's fatigue, it was 
about decided to suspend experiment till the morrow ; but not being 
satisfied with the first three, I urged Mr. Gibert to allow an imme- 
diate repetition of the second, which had failed (Cagliostro's experi- 
ment — endorming the subject from a distance and making her come 
to him across the city). 

It was half-past 8 in the evening. Mr. Gibert consented. The 
precise time was chosen by lot. The mental action was to begin 5 
minutes before 9 and to continue till 9.10. At that moment there was 
no one in the pavilion, besides the subject, but the cook, and she did 
not expect that anything was to be done by us. No one went to the 
pavilion. Profiting by this absence, the two women went to the 
parlor, and amused themselves with playing on the piano. 

We reached the neighborhood of the pavilion past 9 o'clock. Silence. 
The street was deserted. Without making the least noise, we broke 
up into tw v o parties to watch the house from a distance. 

At 9.25 I saw a shadow appear at the garden gate. It was she. I 
hid in a corner to listen without being observed. But I heard nothing. 
The somnambule, after waiting a minute at the gate, went back into 
the garden. (At this moment Mr. Gibert was no longer acting ; by 
dint of concentrating his thought he had a sort of syncope or stupor, 
lasting till 9.35.) 

At 9.30 the somnambule appeared again at the gate, and this time 
sprang into the street unhesitating. She hurried along like one who 
is late, but who must positively reach his destination. The other 
gentlemen, who were on her route, had no time to notify us — Dr. 


Myers and me ; but, hearing rapid footfalls, we followed the somnam- 
bule, who noticed nothing around her ; or, at least, did not recognize 
us. Reaching Du Bard Street she began to stagger, halted a moment, 
and came near falling. Suddenly she started forward again at a rapid 
pace. It was now 9.35. (At this moment Mr. Gibert, come to himself, 
began the action again.) The somnambule hurried on regardless of 

In ten minutes we were quite near Mr. Gibert's house, when he, 
thinking the experiment had missed, and wondering because he did 
not see us back again, steps out to meet us. He comes across the 
somnambule, who keeps her eyes still closed. She does not recognize 
him. Absorbed in her hypnotic monomania, she rushes to the stair- 
case, followed by us all. Mr. Gibert wanted to enter his office, but I 
take him by the hand and lead him to a room opposite. The som- 
nambule, highly wrought up, looks for him everywhere, brushing by 
us, but not noticing anything. She enters the office, feels of the fur- 
niture, repeating in a tone of distress, "Where is he? Where is Mr. 
Gibert ? " 

Meanwhile the magnetizer was seated, making not the least motion. 
The subject enters the room, almost touches him as she passes, but in 
her excitement fails to recognize him. Again she rushes through 
other rooms. Then the thought occurred to Mr. Gibert to draw her 
to him mentally, and in consequence of that act of will, or by simple 
coincidence, she retraced her steps and seized him by the hands. 

That moment an insane joy took possession of her. She springs 
upon the sofa, claps her hands like a child, and cries, " There you 
are ! There you are at last ! How happy I am ! " 

Then she repeats to us her impressions. The two women, Mrs. B. 
and the cook, were amusing themselves in the parlor, playing and 
singing, profiting by the absence of the lady of the house. Then, 
toward 9 o'clock — 9 o'clock, she said, lacking two or three minutes? 
" being seated on the sofa, I felt a drowsiness coming upon me." " It 
was you," said she, addressing Mr. Gibert, " that did that to me. I 
knew these gentlemen were waiting in the street. ' Well,' said I to 
myself, ' let them wait ; I have enough of this nonsense.' But I could 
not make a long resistance, and I ran like a crazy woman." 

She was able to name the streets she had traversed, but she had 
"met nobody." 

The evening was a very interesting one. After enjoying for a good 
half-hour the presence of her " dear Mr. Gibert," and felt of the 
thumb of Mr. Janet, whom she also " loves dearly," she suddenly 
exclaimed : " And that gentleman — the other gentleman — what's his 
name ? Where is he ? " She reaches forth her hand in the direction of 
me, groping in the air. I give her my hand. She examines my 
1 But according to the cook the parlor clock pointed to 9.15. 


thumb after her own fashion, recognizes me 1 with satisfaction, but 
continues the examination. "What, then, is your name? Mr. Oko — 
Goro — I don't know." I repeat, mentally, my name, but she cannot 
yet speak it. 

"You are — you are not English. [The first day she took me for 
Mr. Frederic Myers, which proves that she did not see persons.] You 
are from Paris — but you are not French ; you have come only for 

France — you are from What is the name of your country ? 

Bre No ! Po Poland, isn't that it ? You endorm many, a 

good many people. Why ? I don't want you to endorm so many 
people. Listen ! What do you do in Paris ? [She applies her fingers 
to her forehead.] A factory, you make ape — apa — how do you call 
it? Apparatus, isn't that it?" 

"What are those apparatus used for?" asked Mr. Gibert. 

I thought of telephones, but what came into her mind was the hyp- 
noscope (she had seen one in my hands, but she has never seen a 

" Oh, it works so." Here she imitated general contracture — a re- 
miniscence of yesterday's experiment. 

We pass to other experiments, but the somnambule's thoughts are 
elsewhere, she is preoccupied about me. In vain do I hold my tongue, 
withdraw, hide ; she seems always drawn toward me, and wants to 
go and find me. She grows angry at Mr. Janet, and says he (men- 
tally) forbids her to keep her thoughts fixed upon me. 

Seeing this strange influence, Mr. Gibert proposed that I should take 
his place, judging that I could obtain results still more remarkable. 
But I decline. " It is a sympathy," I said, " a somnambulic passion 
such as we sometimes see, rather than a really stronger influence. I 
do not know the subject well enough, and, besides, in delicate experi- 
ments it is not well to multiply influences. I trust more your con- 
versance with the subject than my personal power. Finally, inasmuch 
as it is a question of facts that I have not yet verified, and which I am 
trying to study, I prefer to retain my independence as an observer." 

Consequently, Mr. Gibert was requested to continue the experi- 
ments and in particular to attempt transmission of sensations. 

To the end that the attraction that my presence seemed to exert 
upon Mrs. B. might not become a hindrance, I asked Mr. Janet to 
suggest to her the thought that I was gone away. 

" Mr. Ochorowicz is gone ; he will not return. I forbid you to think 
of him!" 

This order, several times repeated in view of the opposition made 
by the subject, secured for us a quiet time for nearly an hour. Dur- 
ing that time she spoke no more of me and I was able to stand quite 
near her and to watch the experiments. 

1 That is, recognizes that I ani the one whose power she lauded. 


It was necessary to select the favorable moment for the transmis- 
sion of sensations, for that phenomenon, as well as mental suggestion 
in general, succeeds only in an intermediate state betwixt aideic 
lethargy and regular monoideism. I was glad to be able to verify in 
this remarkable subject the same physiological conditions which were 
first formulated by me before the Society of Physiological Psychology, 
January 25, 1886, and which were based upon a detailed study of the 
phenomena presented by Mrs. M. 

Verification of the state needful for transmission was made in the 
following manner : Mr. Gibert drank slowly alongside Mrs. M. a 
glass of water. Immediately she exhibited the movements of swal- 

After this preparatory trial, Mr. Gibert, followed by Mr. Marillier, 
retired to a remote apartment. On the threshold of the chamber I 
whisper in the ear of Mr. Marillier : " Pinch his right hand." 

Two minutes after, Mrs. B. manifests the signs of suffering sharp 
pain. Both her hands, but the right in particular, are in a quiver. 
" Don't," she cried. " Don't do that, wretch." 

The second experiment was proposed in writing : " Puncture the 
middle of his forehead." 

In the subject, general agitation, less marked in the arms. The 
somnambule raises her hands toward her forehead, complaining of the 
hurt they are causing her, and continually repeating : " You wretch ! 
Don't do that ! Wretch ! " Her agitation continued for a minute 
after the return of the two gentlemen. 

Then came the last experiment — one that I had never witnessed 
before — namely, mentally to order an act that was not to be per- 
formed till the following morning. At the stroke of 11 o'clock Mrs. 
B. was to go to the parlor, take up a photograph album that lay on the 
table, open it and examine the portraits. (This order was proposed 
in writing by Mr. Frederic Myers.) 

To communicate the order mentally, Mr. Gibert seized Mrs. B.'s 
hands and applied his forehead to her's. I stood quite close to them: 
he made no movement of the lips. He merely attracted the subject's 
attention by saying, " Listen, Leonie ! " 

At the moment of transmission Mrs. B's countenance assumed a 
peculiar expression ; one would say she was listening with all her 
powers of attention. But at the same time it was plain that Mr. 
Gibert did not act auditive sensations for her, 1 for while still retain- 
ing this expression she began to be agitated, to writhe in strong con- 
vulsions. There was a true paroxysm of hysterepilepsy, with grind- 
ing of the teeth, clonic movements and contractures. After barely 
two minutes the communication was at an end, and Mrs. B. grew 
quiet little by little, giving no sign that she knew what had passed. 

1 JV' 'agissait pas pour elk des sensations auditives. 



Messrs. Gibert and Janet even assured me that she could not tell 
what was asked of her, and that orders given in this way to be carried 
out in the sleep itself had never succeeded. Hence, it appears that this is 
a transmission eminently unconscious, and that the subject's uncon- 
scious requires a certain time to crystallize, so to speak, the impres- 
sions received, and to excite the corresponding muscles. 

This phenomenon is not an isolated one in psychology. It some- 
times happens to one, as he lies abed, that the thought of getting up 
comes to him, but without sufficient force to overcome his indolence. 
This thought returns once or twice without result. Then, while his 
mind is occupied with quite other things, he feels himself raised sud- 
denly, as by a stranger force, and is up with a bound without making 
up his mind to act. 

So, with regard to waking at a set hour. I must take the train very 
early. I know that there will be somebody to awaken me, and so my 
consciousness may sleep tranquilly. But the unconscious has received 
communication of this decision, though the Me did not at all count 
on the unconscious. So the unconscious watches, is so wakeful, calcu- 
lates time so exactly, that at the approach of the fixed hour it rouses 
us and recalls the Me to consciousness. 

The following morning, at 5 minutes before 11 o'clock, Mr.. Marillier 
and I were in the garden. The clock struck n, and we saw Mrs. B. 
coming down-stairs from her chamber. She enters the parlor, looking 
for something. She touches several objects, without taking them in 
hand. She opens the wall closet, and shuts it again. Mr. Janet comes 
and bids her good morning ; she makes reply, and then goes on with 
her indeterminate task, while walking up and down the parlor. Mr. 
Janet returns to us, and proposes to us to endorm the subject from a 
distance, thinking the experiment has failed. I object, saying that 
Mrs. B., not being quite in her normal state, might fall asleep of her 
own accord, and that we ought to wait and see what she would do. 
And all agreed that I was in the right ; for, a few minutes later, at 
11.30, Mrs. B. takes up an album, then another, opens it, sits on the 
sofa ; and, now visibly quieted, begins to turn the photographs over. 
As she told us afterward, she was looking for the portrait of Mr. 
Gibert. "Why?" she was asked. "Because it gives me pleasure to 
see it." (That photograph had been taken out after it was found 
that once she was endormed spontaneously while looking at it.) 

We go to the panor and find Mrs. B. still engaged in thumbing 
the album, but she was in a state of active somnambulism. She did not 
this time say it was Mr. Gibert that endormed her : she did not even 
know she was endormed. 

Naturally we profited by the occasion to make a few experiments. 
She again touched the thumbs of all present and recognized us 
easily. Mr. Janet asked her to continue her revelation about me. She 


repeated her remarks of the other day : " He has a good deal — I don't 
know how to speak it — well, he has that which is needed to endorm." 
"A good deal of will-power?" asked Mr. Janet. " Yes, yes, a will- 
power — but I don't know how to call it — he thinks well. When one 
means to endorm me he must think well — else it torments me — some 
one wants to endorm me and thinks of something else ; that annoys 
me. He has — I don't know — but I should not dare, for instance, to 
say nay to him — Oh, there ! He could make me walk — make me walk 
into the sea." 

"You want to leave us, then — Mr. Gibert and me?" "No; you 
are mine." "Then forget him!" "I will not." But at last she 
gives way, and we are able to proceed with the experiments. 

I have forgotten to say that after the seance at Mr. Gibert's she 
was taken home in a carriage and awakened on her arrival, so that 
she retained no recollection of her night-wandering. While on the 
way home she said to the gentlemen that were with her that I had 
something in my pocket which attracted (the hypnoscope). Wishing to 
verify the fact I passed the magnet to Dr. Myers, who, according to 
the somnambule, had no influence over her. He put it in his pocket ; 
while on the other side Mr. Frederic Myers, who was equally indiffer- 
ent for Mrs. B., had another magnet. 

Almost instantly Mrs. B. stretched forth her arms, attracted in two 
opposite directions. This attraction ceased in the state of active 
somnambulism, and then reappeared in one of the phases of lethargy 
that I was unable to define. 

But little by little the order to forget me was blotted out of the 
subject's mind, and she showed again an attraction toward me, though 
now I had not the hypnoscope in my pocket. She rose twice and 
wanted to follow me. I went into the garden so as not to spoil the 
experiment, and Mr. Janet was obliged to repeat the order to forget. 
Finally, toward 2 o'clock, in the street I stopped. the gentlemen to say 
to them this : 

" You know I came to Havre mainly to verify the fact, till then 
unknown to me, of somnambulism at a distance. Now, the experi- 
ments we have made do not convince me. They are acceptable as 
regards action at a distance, but then they may also be explained by 
involuntary suggestions. In the first experiment Mrs. B. was not 
endormed till after she had seen that we were come. The second 
failed entirely ; true, it was performed under exceptional difficulties, 
but at all events it proves nothing. The third seems conclusive ; the 
subject came across town endormed. But for me there is a serious 
doubt. Mr. Gibert began the action at 5 minutes before 9 o'clock, 
whereas according to the cook Mrs. B. seemed to be already endormed 
15 minutes before 9. I have ascertained that my watch keeps time 
with the clock in the parlor, and Mr. Gibert's is regulated according 


to mine. Consequently we may suppose that Mrs. B. fell asleep of 
her own accord some minutes before Mr. Gibert began to act. After- 
ward she came, it is true, but I saw her at the garden gate, and it may 
be that she perceived one of us and that this circumstance suggested 
to her the thought of going out a few minutes after. In short, if we 
reject the testimony of the somnambule herself, certain doubts arise. 
To be absolutely convinced, I request Mr. Janet to endorm the sub- 
ject now. The conditions are as perfect as can be. I noticed Mrs. 
B. from a distance and am perfectly certain that she is in her normal 
state, without any tendency to spontaneous somnambulism. No one 
is at this moment expecting an experiment. " Will you try it ? " 

It was cruel on my part, for we were all both tired and hungry; but 
I did not wish to go away without a clear conscience, and without being 
able to subscribe to the report that Mr. Marillier was to make to the 
Society of Physiological Psychology. Mr. Janet replied that he never 
had tried to act in the public street, that it would be impossible for 
him sufficiently to concentrate his thought, and that, on the whole, he 
preferred that the experiment should be made by Mr. Gibert. But 
.at last he consented, provided he were permitted to act from his own 
house, i. e. f from a much greater distance, but where he would have 
the necessary quietude. I accepted the conditions, and it was agreed 
that we should first go to lunch together, to fix the exact time, and 
then try the experiment. 

The matter was arranged as follows : I asked Mr. Marillier to go 
to the pavilion and watch Mrs. B. He did not act upon her, and so 
his presence could not have a disturbing effect. He was an habitui 
of the house, and therefore his presence could not awaken any sus- 
picion. He did not know the precise time of the experiment, conse- 
quently he could not by his behavior influence the subject at the 
given moment. The precise time, fixed by lot after the departure of 
Mr. Marillier, was 4.30. 

"We have still a good hour before us, but I'll not let you slip 
from me," said I to Mr. Janet, laughing. So we went together to 
take a cup of coffee, and then to have a stroll on the beach ; at last, 
we went back to* Mr. Janet's house, No. 3 Robert Alley. I kept up a 
lively conversation all the time with Mr. Janet, to keep him from 
thinking of Mrs. B., and so that there might be no excuses if by 
chance Mrs. B. should be endormed before the hour. 

At 4.30 I withdrew to the little garden plot of his house, to give 
him entire freedom of action. 

He sat in his armchair, his head between his hands, and concen- 
trated his will so as to order Mrs. B., about half a mile away, to fall 
into somnambulism. This mental action lasted 18 minutes. 

At 4.48 I enter Mr. Janet's study. He puts on his hat, and we go 
out to join the Messrs. Myers and proceed to the pavilion. Before 


entering I asked Dr. Myers to go upstairs alone and call Mr. Marillier 
down. The latter said he had seen nothing. " All that I can certify," 
he declared, " is that since my arrival nobody entered the pavilion. 
As for Mrs. B., she probably is busy sewing in the parlor, but I did 
not enter the parlor for fear of exciting her suspicions." Before going 
in, I begged Mr. Janet to permit me to put the questions to Mrs. B. 
in case we should find her endormed. 

Then we enter without ringing, as noiselessly as possible, and 
notice, through the door of the parlor, which was ajar, Mrs. B. 
engaged in sewing, but in active somnambulism. She did not hear us. 
She anszvered only the questions put by Mr. Janet. 

" Well ! You are tormenting me again ! Do I look like a fool ? 
It is you that are playing this trick upon me ! " 

" Perhaps it is Mr. Gibert." 

" It is not Mr. Gibert at all, 'tis you." 

" When did you fall asleep ? " 

"Just at half-past four." 

"Did you look at the watch ?" 

" What need to look at the watch ? I tell you it was half-past four." 

I compared Mrs. B.'s watch with mine. It was 3' 30'' slow ; conse- 
quently, if she noted the time correctly, the effect was produced from a 
distance in about 4 minutes after the commencement of the action. 

" Tell us what you have been doing since we left." 

She then told us that first she went down to the kitchen for lunch, 
that she talked awhile with the cook, and then went up to the first 
floor to dress ; that at last she took up her sewing and suddenly found 
herself paralysed, so that when the bell rang (on Mr. Myers entering) 
she was unable to rise. 

She did not speak of Mr, Gibert this time as she had done always 

Another point worthy of notice is that, as thess gentlemen assured 
me, when Mr. Gibert endorms her from a distance, she is always 
found in lethargy ; when Mr. Janet is the operator she fails into a less 
profound somnambulic state. The cook confirmed the somnambule's 

" Now, then, are you satisfied ? " asked Mr. Janet, addressing me. 

"Yes ; this time the experiment is clear. One thing only I regret 
— that 'Mr. Marillier could see nothing. Thereupon we proceed to 

From the beginning of our seances she had shown a certain repul- 
sion toward Mr. Marillier, a purely physical repulsion against being 
touched by him ; yet she would talk with him and show no sign of 
dislike. We ask the reason of this. She examines his thumb ; then, 
letting go his hand, she says : " He makes me ill. Oh, not me — but 
- — that does not concern you." Mr. Janet insists. Again she seizes 


Mr, Marillier's thumb, touches his chest, then her own, with an expres- 
sion of pain, and makes answer: "I do not wish — that does not con- 
cern you." All that can be got from her is that he is ill. 

Mr. Marillier took me aside, and admitted that he had an affection 
of the heart, and but a few days before had suffered a good deal 
from it. The fact is mentioned in his study on Hallucinations. 

With her habitual vivacity — habitual only when she is in the state 
of active somnambulism — Mrs. B. passes to other matters, amuses 
herself like a child, touches the hands of those present, always in the 
same way and with the eyes shut. 

While she was holding a lively conversation with Mr. Janet, I made 
an experiment in mental action. It was without result. At that 
moment there was hyperesthesia of the sense of smell, for a cigarette 
mouthpiece, held some twenty inches away, produced coughing and 

As she showed such marked impressionableness with regard to me, 
and as she believed I had left the house, I wished to find out whether 
she could recognize an object belonging to me. So I remove my 
cravat and pass it secretly to Mr. Janet by the hand of Mr. Marillier. 
Being at the moment occupied with other questions, Mr. Janet laid 
the cravat on the table. A few seconds afterward, the somnambule 
rose of her own accord, took the cravat, went straight to me. dropped 
the cravat into my lap, and went back to her place, acting through- 
out like an automaton. Was this an instance of thought-action on my 
part ? At all events Mrs. B. did not recognize me ; she merely carried 
out my thought, which had not been formulated as a mental order, 
and this she did mechanically, as though not knowing what she did. 
But the somnambule, despite her apparent inability to see, might have 
noticed my not having on the cravat. I therefore decided to make 
the same experiment over again with another object, and for this 
purpose I chose a bit of black ribbon that no one had seen me wear : 
this, too, I passed to Mr. Janet by the hand of a third person, not 
a word being spoken. Mr. Janet held the ribbon in his closed hand. 
Suddenly the somnambule opened his hand, took the ribbon, and as 
soon as she had touched it danced with joy like a child, saying : " He 
is there ! He is there ! He is not gone ! " Then she asked for a 
piece of paper, and it was given to her. She wrapped the ribbon in 
this and held it out in the direction of me, to give it to me. I did not 
stir, and she grew impatient. Mr. Janet tried to take the little parcel 
from her, and her irritation increased. Then I took up a broad- 
brimmed hat, and with that concealed my hand and Mr. Janet's. The 
instant the parcel touched my hand, Mrs. B. smiled and tried to give 
it back to me ; but when she found Mr. Janet's hand she withdrew the 
parcel, and showed signs of displeasure. After many experiments of 
this kind her agitation increased,- and she had a real paroxysm of 


hysteria, which Mr. Janet tried to quiet by applying his fore- 
head to hers. (It seems that ovarian pressure has not this effect upon 
Mrs. B., who, I repeat, presents no symptom of hysteria in her normal 

To elucidate the question of her discernment of objects, I pro- 
posed to Mr. Janet to take three similar leaves of paper, touched by 
three different persons and marked by them. It was done, and aa 
effort made to pass the papers to Mrs. B. But she objected strenu- 
ously, struggled, and would not touch them. She brushed them aside 
with her handkerchief, and was not quieted till she saw them on the 
floor. Then she threw the handkerchief on the sofa, and started 
when she chanced to touch it. When the three sheets of paper were 
by force laid in her lap, she struggled, threw herself back, and felt 
into lethargy. The experiment had therefore to be given up. 

I was obliged to return to Paris, but one more experiment in en- 
dorming from a distance took place, under the direction of Mr. F. 
Myers. The details were communicated to me by Mr. Janet, as fol- 
lows : 

" On Saturday, after you left, nothing of real interest occurred, 
save an experiment in somnambulism produced from a distance, under 
precisely the same conditions as on the day before. The Messrs. 
Myers had me to lunch with them, and suddenly requested me to 
endorm Leonie at an hour they had agreed upon — a little before 3. 
o'clock. I thought upon it for a little less time than the previous 
day — about ten minutes — and we went forthwith to the pavilion, with- 
out waiting. Leonie was asleep over her work, as on the preceding 
day ; she had been endormed just about 3:15. All that is known 
with precision is that she had gone upstairs to her work hardly a 
quarter of an hour before (at 2:45). It i s further to be noted that no 
one had endormed her since the preceding da}', and that I had not 
seen her that morning. 

" Leonie said it was I that had endormed her. It seems that at 
that moment she had an hallucination — such, at least, is Mr. Myers's- 
opinion. She kept saying that she saw me endorm her. 

" During the sleep we did little more than repeat what you have 
seen already. . . . The sleep was disturbed by a storm which 
caused very violent paroxysms (crises) such as J had not seen before. 

" The Messrs. Myers left Saturday evening. I endormed the sub- 
ject once more Sunday morning, but I did it all alone in continuation 
of my researches. 

" As soon as I shall see Leonie in her second state, which is for us. 
the true one, I will convey to her your compliments. 

" I am, etc., 

" P. Janet. 

" Havre, May 4, 1886." 

I left Havre with a profound emotion. I had at last witnessed the 
extraordinary phenomenon of action from a distance, which upsets all 
the opinions currently received. I summoned up my recollections, I 
questioned my notes a hundred times, to make sure of the reality of 


what I had just witnessed. I examined the facts from the skeptic's 
point of view, if perchance they might be pure accidence and coinci- 
dence, then from the point of view of the magnetizer ; finally, I looked 
at them in the light of the suggestional theory and of other inter- 
mediate theories, possible or fanciful ; and I came to the conclusion 
that leaving out the first three experiments, which were inconclu- 
sive, the fourth stands and cannot be explained save by a causal 
connection between an act of will and an effect produced at a distance. But 
as I have already said, in questions of this kind one must himself 
make the experiments ; one must himself have brought out — and that 
again and again — the phenomenon, with a subject and amid surround- 
ings that he knows thoroughly; if he is to give a definitive judgment. 
Now, with regard to the action from a distance in this case, I was but 
a passive observer, and therefore I must have my reserves upon the 
matter. I have, however, verified mental suggestion from anear, but 
I saw only one experiment from a distance that to me seemed to meet 
all the requirements. 



A FEW days after my return to Paris I had occasion to make 
some further experiments upon two hysteric patients whom it 
was my duty to treat under like conditions. 

Miss Z. was magnetized by me for hysteric paroxysms, complicated 
by physical exhaustion and marked anaemia. (Hypnoscopic exp. : 
sensation of cold and slight analgesia.) The first seance gave no 
positive result, except that my hands were chilled in quite an extra- 
ordinary degree. The patient, having passed through a torpor hardly 
perceptible to her; felt a little better, but did not admit that the mag- 
netism had had any effect. The second seance produced magnetic 
sleep, and then *a rather protracted paroxysm, but the transition from 
waking to sleep and from sleep to the normal state took place so 
imperceptibly, that she would not believe in the sleep, and was almost 
quite unconscious of having had the paroxysm. 

At the third seance, she told me that she did not at all believe in 
the sleep produced, and said that I should never succeed in endorm- 
ing her ; that if she remained for a time motionless that was because 
such was her good pleasure, but that should she only try to make a 
little resistance, I should have no influence. I advised her not to 
open a discussion that led to nothing, and said that if she persisted 
in her resistance I should prefer doing nothing, lest I should produce 


useless excitation. But my efforts to persuade were in vain ; on the 
contrary, Miss Z. was set in her purpose to convince me, and posi- 
tively asked me to endorm her against her will. As that experiment 
could not, in the present case, cause serious mischief, I at last con- 

After a few minutes she was endormed by fixing the gaze, but 
straightway passed into somnambulic delirium, constantly repeating : 
" No ! I won't ! You shall do nothing with me ! " Little by little 
the delirium became a spoken dream lasting more than an hour. 
The patient remained seated and quiet, heard only me, but was not 
quite obedient. I told her to go to bed, the hour being late. She 
refused, saying she was very well as it was, and that she wanted to 
be left undisturbed. 

I might have awakened her, but from what I had seen I was almost 
sure that the awaking would bring about an hysterepileptic paroxysm 
in the normal state, contrarily to the therapeutic principle of magnet- 
ism. (My treatment of hysterepilepsy by magnetism consists in this : 
I transfer, so to speak, the paroxysms to the magnetic sleep, and thus 
suppress them by degrees in the normal state. The cure is complete 
when a paroxysm can no longer be produced even in the somnambu- 
lic state.) 

At this moment a young lady companion entered the parlor quite 
noiselessly and looked with astonishment at Miss Z. " Do not look 
at me," said the latter. "You make me ill." (The patient's eyes 
were shut, and she was some twenty-five feet distant from the visitor.) 
Miss Marie, the caller, withdrew frightened. But the patient still 
kept crying out to her : "Do not think on me ! You make me ill." 

These words, which might have been dictated by a presumption 
and not by a real psychic action, recalled to my mind Mr. Gibert's 
experiment. Wishing by hook or by crook to get the patient to bed 
so that I might leave, I tried unconscious psychic inoculation. I 
applied my forehead to hers, saying mentally : " In five minutes you 
will want to go to bed." The patient continued to rave, and seemed 
in no wise influenced by my action. Five minutes passed and she 
said nothing to me. Then I advised her, for the tenth time at least, 
to go to bed. "As you -wish," she answered. She went to bed and 
perforce believed in magnetism now, for the next day she was unable 
to account for her being there. 

Mr. Gibert believed strongly in the efficacy of mental action by 
contact of foreheads. He has told me that often he has in this way 
arrested violent hysteric paroxysms. I wished to test the matter, and 
an opportunity soon presented itself. 

Miss S., to all appearance, sound, strong, not at all anaemic, was 
subject to attacks of the major hysteria of great violence, but very 
infrequent. One might even say that hers was latent hysteria, for it 


manifested itself only under the influence of moral causes at intervals 
of several months, or even of several years. Still, it was the greater 
hysteria, a very serious case, presenting all the chief phases so well 
analyzed by Mr. Charcot, including the period of delirium at the end 
of the attack. This always lasted several hours, nay, a whole night. 
Miss S. was very sensitive to hypnotism, and that explains the intensity 
of the attacks. (Hypnoscopic exp. : insensibility and torpor soon ex- 
tending to the whole nervous system, producing an hypotaxic state 
very much like sleep.) 

Once I made with her some experiments in mental suggestion with 
playing-cards. The result was rather remarkable. She never divined 
quite aright, but she always had a perception correct in part, and 
always in accord with the visual, but not the auditive characters. For 
example : I thought of the deuce of spades, she divined tray of spades ; 
I thought of the queen of hearts, she divined jack of hearts ; ten of 
clubs, she said nine of spades ; and so on. In divining, she shut her 
eyes, bowed her head, and remained absorbed in a visibly monoideic 
state that struggled with the ordinary impressions. After a quarter of 
an hour of this exercise her countenance was changed, and gave 
tokens of great fatigue. I interrupted the experiments, and to bring 
her back to herself made a few awakening passes. I was wrong ; I 
ought rather to have endormed her completely, and allowed her to 
take repose in that state. For a moment she was freed from her ener- 
vation, and seemed entirely well. But the shock had been produced, 
and the partial disturbance of the normal equilibrium brought about 
an attack. 

We were at table when I was notified that Miss S., who had gone to 
her chamber, was writhing in convulsions. I hastened thither and 
found her on the floor in a fearful paroxysm. She was rolling on the 
floor so violently that I had all that I could do to hold her by the 
arms ; but restrain her I must, for she was dead set upon dashing 
her head against any hard object whatever, or throwing herself out of 
the window. Then I tried Mr. Gibert's plan ; but it was without re- 
sult, whereas ovarian pressure stilled the paroxysm a little, at least 
for a few momefits. In such cases it is difficult to endorm the sub- 
ject. The struggle lasted three hours. After the first hour she was 
already a little influenced, and about every ten minutes she fell into a 
somnambulic dream, with rapport ; but by reason of the quite surpris- 
ing force of her convulsed muscles, and of the necessity of keeping her 
in restraint unaided (she could not brook the touch of another person), 
I found myself exhausted, and every time I brought about a begin- 
ning of sleep, it was broken by frightful convulsions. At last, after a 
dozen attempts at suicide, a quiet delirium appeared ; she became 
voluble in speech, passed again in imagination through divers episodes 
of her life, but remained calm by my side, answered my questions, and 


was beginning to obey me. I induced her to rest on a bed, and there 
little by little lucid somnambulism got the better of the attack. The 
rapport was well defined ; she heard only me, and that only when I 
wished her to hear, so that we talked about her all the time, aloud, 
without her knowing it. The slighest touch by a stranger, even 
through the bed clothes, even when the sense of touch could give her 
no information, produced irritation and threatened her with a new at- 
tack. While speaking in somnambulism she always addressed me in 
the familiar form of speech — thee, thou j 1 consequently I did the same. 
" Go and rest now," she said : " I shall sleep quietly till 10 o'clock to- 
morrow morning. At that hour you will come and awaken me." I 
went home and slept like a marmot. On the morrow at 9:30 I entered 
her chamber. 

" I heard you coming along the street," she said, " but do not 
awaken me yet. It is not yet 10 o'clock." 
" Did you sleep well ?" 
" Yes ; because you did." 

I found that the head was still a little hot, and offered to endorm 
her a little more deeply, to calm her. She assented. I made several 
passes without contact, and then went to the parlor and waited, read- 
ing a newspaper at a window. Suddenly I heard a noise like that of 
a falling body. The noise came from the street, but I fancied it 
came from her chamber, and for a moment I feared she had been 
seized by a new paroxysm. But that alarm shot through my mind 
like a flash, and lasted hardly one second ; immediately the reflection 
came to me that there was, at that moment, nothing to fear, and I 
did not even stir from my place nor change my position, but kept on 

After a quarter of an hour I went to the patient's room, between 
which and the parlor was another large room looking into the court- 
yard, not upon the street. 

I touched the patient's head and found it hotter than before. " Why ? " 
"Because you are alarmed about something," was her answer. " Not 
at all," I replied, forgetting at first the trifling occurrence in the 
parlor ; " why should I be alarmed ? " "I don't know, but you are 
alarmed, and that has given me a congestion." 

At this moment she was in an inert polyideic state (she exercised 
thought, but made no spontaneous movement). 

I calmed her head by laying my hand upon it, and then tried men- 
tally to suggest to her some movements, but without success. A little 
after I spoke quite near to her, addressing her, but intending not 
to be heard. She answered, nevertheless. I now formulated the 
order that I was not to be heard, and then recommenced the same 

1 The English language has lost the faculty of exhibiting this distinction. — Trans- 
lator . 


experiment in other words, and without any possible verbal sugges- 
tion. She did not hear. 

"You will awaken me soon and I shall not have any more par- 
"No more?" 

" No more. I shall recollect nothing, and you must not tell me 
what passed during the night. Furthermore, you will give me your 
word that you will never try to act upon me from a distance." 

" And do you think that would be possible for me — to act from a 

" Yes ; but you must not do it, for that would make me ill ; I should 
be worried all the time." 

" And if I promise you that, you will be no more made nervous by 
my presence?" 
" No ! " 

" How do you recognize the touch of a third person ? " 
" Because it is disagreeable — strange — different — unbearable." 
Miss S. was serious-minded in the sleep. She was always grave 
and laconic in somnambulism, and never laughed, a fact which gave 
a peculiar air to that state. She said that it would be preferable to 
endorm her entirely, instead of wanting to awaken her quickly. " But 
that makes no difference," she added ; " I shall not have a further 
attack, because you have let me have a long sleep." In reality she slept 
fourteen hours consecutively. 

" Awaken me now, but quite gently." (A request often made to me 
by somnambules in like cases.) So I awakened her very slowly, 
taking some twelve minutes to do it, by means of transverse passes 
without contact. At length she smiled, opened her eyes, and looked 
around surprised. She asked what meant my presence at her bed- 
side, and recollected nothing. 

During the following days there was only general fatigue and a 
little pain in the spleen, and that disappeared by degrees. In the 
evening she had headache. I removed this pain by imposition of 
hands, but on leaving I had a slight headache myself. I went to see 
another patient, who never had had headache — at least so she assured 
me many times. This patient I put to sleep (it was very difficult to 
endorm her, but the sleep was very deep). My headache disap- 
peared. I awoke the patient after half an hour. 

" I am doing very well, don't you think so ? " she said (she is ataxic). 
" But this is odd, my head pains me a little ; something that has never 
occurred before to me." I removed her headache, which disappeared 
for good. 

I smile as I write this narrative, so strange and incredible does it 
seem to me. But to proceed ; I have not yet exhausted my casket 
of surprises : 


I saw Miss S. again that evening. She has headache again, and 
my hands are exhausted, my skin burning. I feel a disagreeable 
moisture (moiteur). I dip my hands in cold water, but all I can do is 
to allay her headache for a few moments. So with regard to the pain 
in the spleen. A cold compress cools her head, but does not banish 
the pain. 

The following day I felt refreshed, and easily banished, in the case 
of another patient, a very intense headache attending an attack of 
fever and lasting three days. After this I found a fourth patient 
suffering from a slight headache. I may remark that I am unable to 
fix the precise moment at which my hands regained their force. I 
was reading a book that pleased me- much, and suddenly I felt the dis- 
agreeable dryness (se'cheresse) of my hands disappear, and regained 
my wonted feeling of a certain agreeable freshness. 

I will cite one more complementary observation, since all this helps. 
to throw light upon our problem. 

When I find my eyes fatigued from reading I go to the theatre,, 
and there, looking at things from a distance serves to give them rest- 
But sometimes, in order to refresh the eyes, I press the palms of my 
hands upon the lids. 

Now, when the hands are exhausted I experience no relief, but if 
only some scene in the play, or a well-spoken phrase produces in me 
an agreeable emotion, my hands at once regain their therapeutic 
quality, and then if I apply them to the eyelids, the fatigue of the; 
eyes disappears. 

I reached the house of Miss S. " What were you doing last night 
at ii o'clock?" she asked, abruptly. Inferring some somnambulic 
eccentricity, I said to her : " Ah, no ! You shall first tell me what 
you know, and I will tell you whether it is correct." 

" So be it. You were writing the whole evening, and it was not 
letters, for I saw big sheets of paper. You did not read a book, but. 
you wrote all the time, and then at n o'clock went to bed, but were 
unable to sleep, and so got up again and walked up and down your 
room, smoking a cigarette." 

Here a person who was with Miss S. the preceding night informed 
me that after going to bed she did nothing but repeat continually : 
" Oh, my God ! When will he go to sleep ? He prevents me from 
sleeping." I said nothing, and Miss S. continued her story : 

" Then, at last, toward i o'clock, you fell asleep, and woke just at 
7 in the morning. Is that so ? " 

It was all precisely so, barring a constant slowing of the time- 
That is to say, she "saw" me still writing at n o'clock, whereas I 
quit writing about 10.45. But it is precisely so that I did not read 
any book, that the whole evening I wrote on large sheets of paper, 
that, unable to sleep (my mind being preoccupied), I got up again 


(quite exceptional this, for I never have had that habit), and so forth. 
The hour of rising was also stated correctly, within a few minutes, 
though about that time I was accustomed not to get up till 8 o'clock. 
I add that Miss S. had no knowledge either of my domicile or of 
my habits, and that I lived about half a mile away. 

It was difficult to accept mere chance as an explanation, but then 
what did this mean ? Here is all that I can say : 

Until that evening I had not had time to take notes upon Miss S.'s 
case. Without any thought of acting upon her, having indeed promised 
that I would not, I began to recall to mind exactly all that had 
occurred the other day, and it is my custom to make my notes very 
circumstantial. Consequently / thought of Miss S. the whole evening. 
As the matter involved certain rather interesting details from the 
theoretic standpoint, this mental occupation kept me from sleeping 
and all the time my thoughts dwelt upon questions in which she 
played the chief part. 

As for Miss S., she retired to bed early and in a half-sleep believed 
she saw all that took place with me, but she declared that my mental 
occupation prevented her from sleeping and that she was angry at 
me, feeling a sense of strange dependence which she could not rid 
herself of. At last on awaking at 7 o'clock she felt as though I also 
had awaked. 

The day following, also, she had a similar sensation, less clear, 
however, and then this rapport disappeared. 

The case then probably was one of " veridical hallucination." 

I know other facts of this kind, but I do not wish to raise this 
question here. It seems to me as yet too difficult and premature. I 
give this narrative only as a simple piece of evidence, and I shall be 
•content in the sequel with analyzing the direct experiments, which 
seem to me more palpable. 

The reader will find in the work compiled by Messrs. E. Gurney, 
Frederic Myers and F. Podmore, under the auspices of the London 
Society for Psychical Research, several hundred similar cases, well 
attested and collected for many years. Its title is " Phantasms of the 
Living" (2 vols. London, 1886). 

I will add only that Mrs. M., too, believed she saw me on the occa- 
sion of my address to the Society of Physiological Psychology, Janu- 
ary 25, 1886, in which I spoke of experiments made upon her; but she 
was informed of it beforehand. Still there were some details of which 
she was ignorant but which she saw in her dream, to wit, that while 
I spoke " I was concealed as high as the chest by a green table." 

Was that thought-transference? Perhaps it was. 







IS the surface of one body capable of transmitting, whether with or 
without contact, certain of its organic states to another body ? 
Such is the question. We will begin with an examination of the physi- 
cal states, passing thence to isolated sensations, and finally to thoughts. 
We shall therefore have to study : 

A. Physical nervous transmission of diseases. 

B. Transmission of emotive states. 

C. Transmission of sensations. 

D. Transmission of ideas. 

E. Transmission of will. 
Then we will study separately. 

A. Suspended mental suggestion. 1 

B. Mental suggestion from a distance. 

The history of magnetism contains many facts, more or less ill-ob- 
served, more or less ill-attested, appertaining to the foregoing cate- 
gories, but they contain also a certain number of positive observations 
that ought to count. 

Hitherto I have restricted myself to telling of what I have myself 
seen, judging that in this sort of phenomena one must himself be ob- 
server, actor and critic, in order to accept others' testimony. Other- 
wise one would have simply to accept all the alleged facts of magnet- 
ism, for all, or nearly all of them, are vouched for by respectable 
witnesses. Besides, no man can boast of such authority in science, 

1 That is, suggestion to be executed at a future time. I know not how to translate 
otherwise the convenient French phrase suggestion mentale a e'che'ance.^- Translator. 


that he can introduce into the scientific domain an entirely new fact„ 
theoretically isolated from all other facts, in short, unexplainable. 
Hence the precaution I imposed upon myself and on the reader had 
no aim, no significance, other than to make the latter a witness of the 
course of my studies, of the progressive development of my convic- 
tions, and hence of my methods. Plainly I do not hold that my testi- 
mony is worth more than that of other physiologists. I only say — 
excuse my egoism, if egoism it be — that it was worth more for me. 
And since one must be answerable for a book as for an act that 
endures, I do wish to have a clear conscience. That will, perhaps, not: 
prevent the skeptics of scientific officialdom from taxing me with 
credulousness, and I shall be the first to understand and to make 
allowance for their skepticism ; but it certainly will save me from, 
self-reproach in the future. That, I take it, is all that a writer can do.. 
Unfortunately, authors have not always taken this precaution. 

You wish to study in the history of magnetism the phenomenon of 
mental suggestion and you are looking for testimony of real weight.. 
You open a book on hypnotism and in it find banter about mental 
suggestion ; those worthies never have studied it, but they assure you 
of the exactness of their negative judgments, based on the witness of 
other men of science, who in turn have not studied it either. At last 
you find a grave author who believes in mental suggestion. 

Take Dr. P. Despine the younger, author of a big treatise in three 
volumes on " Natural Psychology " — a work very little known in France, 
but abroad justly prized. Mr. Despine has also published during the 
last few years a book on somnambulism. He believes in mental sug- 
gestion, even proposes a theory of it ; but as for facts, he has himself 
seen none. He refers to other respectable authors and especially to 
Dr. A. Bertrand, an excellent observer who published (1823 and 1826) 
two volumes on somnambulism and magnetism, wherein he treats at 
considerable length the phenomenon in question, but declares that he 
has no positive evidence drawn from his personal experience. He 
merely says that the number of testimonies that presented themselves- 
in favor of the existence of this phenomenon in the different works- 
wherein he sought information about ecstasy, compelled him to be- 
lieve in spite of himself and obliged him to give more attention to the 
testimonies of the believers in animal magnetism. And he refers- 
chiefly to authors of past times, to Father Surin, " a man of genuine 
piety, to whom the majority of his enemies did not refuse to do 
justice, but credulous beyond all possible imagination." He refers to 
Poncet, author of religious books, an equally estimable personage, 
and to Madame Guyon, the best possible witness, for she " read the 
thoughts of Father Lacombe, her confessor, as he read hers." 

I am only half in play. Bertrand, too, was but half serious when 
he said that he had not met with facts of mental suggestion in his 


practice. He met with a few, and I will quote them in due time and 
place, as I shall also cite the facts observed by Father Surin and by 
Mr. Poncet, for they possess a certain value because of special cir- 

But had I no other evidence than the testimony of Father Surin, 
Mr. Poncet, and Mme. Guyon, think you I would have published a 
book on mental suggestion, or so much as mentioned the existence 
of that phenomenon ? Not I ! Neither assuredly would I have denied 
it, for I never deny what I am ignorant about ; but from that to a 
scientific affirmation of so strange a fact is a long way. 

That is why I took care not to begin, as is the wont, with the his- 
tory of the subject, and therefore with ancient testimonies ; but now 
things are different. I have seen, myself clearly seen, and therefore 
I can have faith in the testimony of those who have seen the same 
thing, and it would not be fair for me to hide from the reader obser- 
vations not my own. On the contrary, I wish to quote them all ; that 
is to say, all that have the appearance of truthfulness, that have been 
well proved, and that are clearly analogous to those observed by 
myself. This latter proviso will be pardoned me, for without it I 
should be obliged to quote also things incredible, at least just now, 
and it is always prudent to advance slowly over unfamiliar ground in 
the dark. 

I will array the subjects according to the classification given above, 
adding my comments, so as to present a full inventory of the known 
facts of mental suggestion, upon which will be based the theory, or 
rather the beginnings of the theory of the future. We will begin with 
a phenomenon seemingly foreign to our inquiry, often found in the 
writings of magnetizers, to wit : the appreciation of diseases by somnam- 
hules, and the alleged power of seeing the, diseased organs. Let not the 
reader be surprised at finding the matter considered here. It is 
essential, as will presently appear. 

1. " I observed (writes Dr. Bertrand) a somnambule who, I was 
told, possessed the faculty of discerning diseases. . . . But not 
content with what they told me about her, I wished to test her with 
regard to a patient whose state I knew beforehand. So I brought 
her into rapport with a young lady whose chief malady was an attack 
of asthma, which afflicted her very often. When the patient came, the 
somnambule was already endormed, and I was sure that she could not 
know the person I brought to her. Nevertheless, after contact for a 
few minutes, she seemed to respire with difficulty, and soon she expe- 
rienced all the symptoms that attend a violent fit of asthma ; her 
voice was suppressed, and with much effort she told us that the 
patient was subject to the kind of oppression that her coming had 
imparted to herself. Nor did she limit herself to that, but added to 
what she had just said details of several local complaints and pains 
to which the patient was subject, and which she recognized with the 
greatest precision by means of the sufferings she herself experienced in 


the corresponding parts of her body ; but what in the most unmistakable 
way showed the somnambule's faculty was the discovery she made of 
an herpetic affection with which the patient was troubled in the geni- 
tal parts. None of us had knowledge of this, and the patient alone 
could tell us how correctly the somnambule had hit it off in this re- 
spect." 1 

Bertrand adds to this observation the following remarks : 

"In general we must, in consultations with somnambules, distin- 
guish what they say they experience through contact with the patients 
from what they fancy they see within their bodies. What they say 
they feel is worthy of credit, while what they infer from what they 
believe they see never presents aught but baseless conjectures, often 
quite absurd." 

2. "I showed," says the same author, "to another somnambule a 
female child of 4 years, one of whose arms was crippled in consequence 
of a fall which had produced a deposit in the shoulder-joint ; further, a 
vice of constitution made her gait awkward, and she swayed from 
one leg to the other. The child was brought to the somnambule, 
and, during the whole time of the consultation, was held in the lap of 
the person who carried her. Thus, nothing could have taught the 
somnambule in advance what she should say. Yet, this is what hap- 
pened. When the child was presented to her, the somnambule raised, 
with difficulty, her own flexed arm, seemed to make vain efforts to 
raise it to her head, and exclaimed : ' Oh, the poor child, she is crip- 
pled !' On being asked what had caused the trouble she had just 
found out, she answered, ' A fall ' (and that was the fact). After this, 
first remark she said nothing for a little while, and then continued : 
' Oh, my God ! how weak she is in the loins ! She must have much 
trouble in walking.' " 2 

3. " I was with the somnambule, whom I was magnetizing as she 
lay on her bed asleep, when I saw coming in a friend of mine accom- 
panied by a poor fellow wounded a little before in a duel, a ball having 
entered the skull. I put the somnambule in rapport with the wounded 
man, and limited myself to asking her to say what ailed him. She 
seemed for a moment to be trying to find out, and then, addressing 
herself, said : ' No, no ! It is impossible. If a man had a ball in his. 
head he would be dead.' \ Well,' said I, * what then do you see ? ' Said 
she: ' He tells me that the gentleman has a ball in his head.'" {He 
was, according to the somnambule, a distinct being, separate from 
herself, and whose voice came from the pit of the stomach ; a sort of 
guardian angel, scilicet, the Unconscious. It is probable that this 
notion of a revealer was suggested to her by some spiritist magnet- 
izer.) " I assured her (continues Bertrand) that what she had said was 
true, and asked her if she could see where the ball had entered and 
what direction it had taken. The somnambule reflected a moment, 
then opened her mouth, and with her finger indicated, that the ball 
had entered through the mouth and penetrated to the posterior part of 
the neck. This, too, was correct. Finally, she carried exactitude so 
far as to point out some of the teeth that were lacking in the mouth, 
and which the bullet had broken. The somnambule had not opened 
her eyes since the moment when the wounded man entered the 

'Bertrand, " Traite du Somnambulisme," etc., p. 229. Paris, 1823. 
i Id. t p. 232. 


chamber. There was no lesion of the external integuments of the 
mouth." 1 

In his second work* Dr. Bertrand expresses himself in these terms: 

"We find in the works of magnetizers very many instances of this 
phenomenon, and I myself have had occasion to verify it several 
times in such a way as to leave no doubt. There is no one, I believe, 
who has made any little observation of a few somnambules, but that 
has often seen them by simple contact feel the pains of the patients 
with whom they have been put in rapport." (Bertrand employs this 
term, consecrated by its use among magnetizers, but he attaches to it 
no other meaning but that of contact ; he does not accept the " mag- 
netic fluid" hypothesis.) "The impression thus received is commonly 
but momentary, and very rarely do they on awaking retain the symp- 
toms communicated to them during the sleep. A few exceptions to 
the rule may be met, however, and in order that the somnambule 
retain the disease for a considerable time, he needs but to be con- 
vinced, from what he experiences, that he has really caught it from 
the patient. . . . That, apparently, is what happened to some of 
the ' Convulsionaries' of Saint-Medard, who thought that God ac- 
cepted them as victims and permitted them to take the diseases of 
those who came to consult them. ' It often happened to the Convul- 
sionaries,' says Carre de Montgeron, ' to take diseases without knowing 
w/iet/ier the persons were ill and in ignorance of the nature of their ail- 
ments. They were informed of these things by the sense of pain they 
felt in the same parts. It appears also that then the sick, witnesses 
of the singular phenomenon before their eyes, believed themselves to be 
freed from their ailments as soon as those ailments had passed into 
the bodies of the Convulsionaries. Thus we see one Chevalier Deyde 
relieved of his fits of dizziness afte-r Sister Jane had taken them.' 
Among the possessed, when the exorcization was protracted for 
a sufficient time to accustom them to the terrible situation in 
which they were, many likewise believed themselves supernaturally 
( informed as to the diseases of the persons present, and thus they 
presented the strongest resemblance to the Saint-M6dard Convulsion- 
aries and to somnambules 

4. " The documents concerning the trial of a (hysterepileptic) ' pos- 
sessed ' person named Mary Bucaille, in 1699, contain, with other 
matter, proofs of. the phenomenon of the transmission of diseases. 
These proofs are the more worthy of attention because the prosecu- 
tion confirms them as well as the defense, with the difference that 
according to the latter the phenomenon proceeds from a gift of 
miracle-working accorded by God himself, while according to the 
former it is of the devil's doing. Now, this Mary Bucaille had suf- 
fered in her person the ailment of Ann Seville, and evidently she 
must be a witch and a sorceress, ' it being the way of sorcerers to cure 
people by taking upon themselves their diseases.' The counsel for 
defense regards this assertion as proof of great ignorance on the 
judge's part, for ' he has always heard it said that a sorcerer, in cur- 
ing a sick person, oftentimes casts the maleficium upon another per- 
son ; but no one ever has heard it said that the sorcerer takes the ail- 
ment upon himself ; and thus, in the cures that God has wrought by 

1 Bertrand, ib. 

* " Du Magnetisme Animal en France," etc., pp. 428-430. Paris, 1826. 


the said Bucaille, if she has in truth taken upon herself the ailments 
of the sick, as is proved as well with regard to the present case 
as with regard to the aged parish priest of Golleville and other per- 
sons that have been mentioned, then this way of curing others is 
something greater and nobler than other miraculous cures, which are 
performed by a single word,' " et cetera} 

What the possessed and the Convulsionaries did of themselves, 
under the influence of disease, somnambules did under the influence 
of magnetizers. The first fact of this kind known, being one of the 
experiments of the Marquis de Puysegur, is given by Clocquet, in a 
letter dated Soissons, July 13, 1784, hence prior to the publication of 
Puysegur's own narrative, which did not take place till toward the 
close of the same year. 2 Clocquet went as an impartial curiosity- 
seeker to witness the Busancy miracles. 

"Attracted like others to this spectacle [he says], I took thither 
merely the dispositions of a quiet and impartial observer ; fully 
resolved to be on my guard against the illusions of novelty ; fully 
resolved to make good use of eyes and ears." 

But here is what he tells : 

5. " Mr. de Puysegur chose from among his patients several sub- 
jects whom, by touching them with his hands and holding toward 
them his wand (an iron rod about fifteen inches in length), he caused 
to fall into a regular crisis. The complement of this state is an 
apparent sleep, during which the physical faculties seem suspended, 
but to the profit of the intellectual faculties. The eyes are shut, the 
sense of hearing is null, and awakes only at the master's call." (This 
is the phenomenon of isolation peculiar to the magnetic sleep, as dis- 
tinguished from the hypnotic state, produced by an inanimate object.) 
" One must be careful not to touch the patient in the crises,' nor even 
the chair he sits in." (I have often, since 1867, observed and verified 
that fact.) "Were one to do so it would cause great suffering ; con- 
vulsions that only the master can allay. These patients in the crisis, 3 
who are called medecins (doctors), have a supernatural power whereby, 
on touching a sick person presented to them, or on laying the hand 
upon him, even outside the clothes, they know what internal organ is 
affected, the part of the body that is ailing. They name it and give 
pretty correct advice as to the proper remedies. I had myself touched 
by one of the medecins — a woman of about fifty years. I certainly 
had not told anybody the nature of my complaint. After giving 
some time to my head in particular, she said that I often had pain 
therein, and that I habitually had a loud buzzing in the ears, which 

1 " Du Magnetisme Animal en France," etc., p. 430, 

2 To the Marquis de Puysegur is usually attributed the discovery of artificial {pro- 
voqud) somnambulism and of the faculty of which we are speaking ; but one has but 
to read Mesmer's second " Memoire " to be convinced that the founder of mesmerism 
knew of both phenomena. It is certain that he kept secret a portion of his experience, 

3 The word crisis has here the same meaning that Mesmer gave it. In general it 
signifies any nervous state different from the normal brought about by the processes 
of magnetization or by the patient's imagination. 


is quite true. A young man who witnessed this experiment with 
incredulity, submitted to it himself afterward, and was told that he 
had trouble with his stomach, that he had engorgements in the lower 
abdomen — this since the occurrence of a fit of sickness a few years 
before. This, he confessed, was in accordance with the facts. Not 
contented with this divination, he forthwith went and had himself 
touched by another 'doctor,' twenty paces away from the first, and 
got the same answer. I never saw a man so dumbfounded as this 
one, who surely had come to contradict, to jeer, and not to be con- 
vinced." ' 

In a book published the same year (1784) under the title "Reflex- 
ions Impartiales sur le Magnetisme Animal," 2 we find the following 
remarks upon the report of the royal commission : 

6. "While the commission were making so many experiments, I 
wish they had extended their observations to one of those somnam- 
bules, made such by magnetic action, and subjected him to the follow- 
ing tests. After blindfolding him with the bandage employed in the 
other experiments, I should have liked to see them bring before him 
different persons whose ailments they knew, and ask him to tell what 
the ailments were. If this new style of doctor should discover the 
seat of diseases merely by contact, I rather think it would not be 
possible for the members of the commission to say that touching the 
patients produced the ailment, and that imagination or touch had any- 
thing to do with it. This experiment is decisive. // has been made 
before my own eyes in Mr. Mesmer's practice ; and since then I have seen 
it repeated at Lyons many times with success, every precaution being taken 
to prevent trickery. The different somnambules that served in the 
experiments were young women of the people. To them were brought 
sick persons unknown to them : they pointed out with the greatest 
exactitude the ailments with which these were affected. I have seen 
them feel sharply the ailments of those whom they magnetized, and 
make those ailments known by pointing toward the region of the 
disease in their own body." 

In August, 1825, Dr. Foissac addressed to the Paris Academy of 
Medicine a letter in which he announced in the following words the 
phenomenon of the transmission of aches : 

" By placing the hand successively on the head, the chest, and the 
abdomen of an. unknown patient, the somnambules discover instantly 
his complaints and aches, and the various symptoms these occasion." 

Here follows an account of the instinct for remedies, which does not 
concern us. Foissac exaggerates this, as he exaggerates also the 
diagnostic instinct, presenting as a general rule what is only a phe- 
nomenon more or less rare. The few somnambules he chanced to 
meet inspired him with unlimited confidence, which soon disappeared 
as his experience grew a little larger. He continues : 

" There is no disease, acute or chronic, simple or complicated — and 
I except none of those which have their seat in either of the three 

1 Quoted by Bertrand, id., p. 222. ' 3 Page 228. 


splanchnic cavities — that the somnambules cannot discover and treat 
suitably ; for the case is not the same with those which are seated in the 
members and at the surface of the body, if they produce no general reac- 
tion, or do not disturb any essential function." 

This restriction is important, especially when made by a competent 
enthusiast. Foissac, then, sees that if communication of symptoms 
is to take place they must proceed from a rather pronounced and 
rather profound disturbance of the vital equilibrium. And if somnam- 
bules do not judge equally well of local disorders " in the members and 
on the surface of the body," the reason is that the faculty here in 
question does not consist in seeing, or as Foissac himself puts it, in 
" reading the inmost structure of the most hidden organs," but that it is 
rather the faculty of feeling the disordered state of a disequilibrated 
nervous system. This disorder must be pretty considerable in order 
to react upon the somnambule as an electric charge in a conductor 
body acts on a distant galvanometer. 

Full of confidence, Foissac proposed to the Academy a scientific 
investigation : 

" Take (said he) in this city — at the Central Bureau or in one of 
the hospitals — three or five of the most pronounced or most charac- 
teristic cases of disease, and let these form the subject of the first 
test ; for the second test you shall select the most obscure or the most 
complicated cases. The somnambules, I pledge my word for it, will 
give all the more convincing proof of their sagacity as the difficulties 
shall be greater. These experiments shall be repeated as often as 
may be agreed upon in order to convince you fully. A commission 
named by you shall observe all the details, and will render to you 
their report thereupon, and to that I will add my report. If you are 
not satisfied with their operations, you shall select others. Should 
I have any complaint to make against any of them, I, too, should 
have the right to name others. The truth could not fail to be ar- 
rived at by So rigorous an investigation." 

True, but it is a rare occurrence for an academy to take an interest 
in a new truth. On the contrary, it is matter of frequent observation 
that academies care more for professional dignity than for the ad- 
vance of science. This is a psychological phenomenon no less inter- 
esting than several others, but we mention it only in passing. The 
fact is that Dr. Foissac's letter was not even read to the academy, 
and that Mr. Adelon, the Secretary, judged it sufficient to acquaint 
the academicians with its purport. After a long and noisy discussion, 
the academy named a commission whose duty was to report " whether 
it is fitti?ig, yea or nay, that the academy take up the question of 
animal magnetism." 

Adelon, Pariset, Marc, Husson, and Burdin were on the commis- 
sion. Husson was named Secretary. 

After four months, December 13, 1825, the report was read to the 


academy. It was a thunderbolt. Taking the works of Bertrand, 
Deleuze, and Georget for a basis, the commission decided in favor 
of the examination. Still, not till after several indecisive sessions 
was a commission of eleven members, nearly all unbelievers, author- 
ized to begin the investigation. That was on February 14, 1826. 
The question of fittingness was decided by a vote of 35 yeas against 
25 nays. 

The commission experimented for five years, and its report was 
presented to the academy by the same Dr. Husson, June 28, 1831. It 
was entirely in favor of magnetism, and even confirmed the idea of 
action from a distance. As for the question which specially interests 
us, here is what the report says : 

" There is not one of you, gentlemen, who in all that has been said 
to him about magnetism has not heard tell of the faculty possessed 
by certain somnambules, not only of defining the kind of diseases 
with which they are affected, the duration and the issue of those dis- 
eases, but also the kind, duration and issue of the ailments of persons 
with whom they are brought into rapport. The following three 
observations have seemed to us so important that we have believed 
it our duty to make them known to you in their entirety, as pre- 
senting very remarkable examples of this intuition and this fore- 
sight : . . . 

7. " The commission found (says the report) among its members 
one who agreed to offer himself for the purpose of having his ailment 
pointed out by the somnambule (Miss Celine Sauvage). This was 
Mr. Marc. Miss Celine was asked to examine attentively the state of 
health of our colleague. She applied her hands to the forehead and the 
region of the heart, and in three minutes said that the blood was tend- 
ing to the head ; that at that moment Mr. Marc had trouble with the 
left side of that cavity ; that he often had a feeling of oppression, 
particularly after eating; that he must often have a light cough ; that 
the interior part of the chest must be gorged with blood ; that some- 
thing interfered with the passage of the food ; that this part — desig- 
nating the region of the xiphoid appendage — was contracted 

We were longing to learn from Mr. Marc whether he felt all 
that the somnambule had declared. He told us that in fact he 
had a sense of oppression when he walked after meals ; that often, as 
she said, he hada cough ; and that before the experiment he had an 
ache in the left side of the head, but that he was unconscious of any 
interference with the passage of his food 

8. " There was another woman, 23 to 25 years of age, suffering for 
the last two years with ascitic dropsy accompanied by numerous 
obstructions, some the size of a hen's egg, others the size of the fist, 
some as big as a babe's head, the large ones having their seat in the 
left side of the abdomen. The exterior of the abdomen was uneven 
and lumpy, and these inequalities corresponded to the obstructions, the 
seat of which was in the abdominal cavity. Mr. Dupuytren had 
already ten or twelve times performed puncture on the patient, and 
had always drawn off a large quantity of albumen, clear, limpid, odor- 
less, and without any admixture. Relief followed. The writer was 
present thrice at this operation, and it was easy for Mr. Dupuytren 


and him to ascertain the volume and hardness of these tumors and 
consequently to see their own powerlessness to cure the patient. 
They prescribed, nevertheless, different remedies, and they attached 
some importance to this, that Miss . . . (the patient) should use 
the milk of a goat rubbed with mercury. February 21, 1827, the 
writer went in search of Mr. Foissac and Miss Celine, and took them 
to a house in the Faubourg du Roule, without telling them the name,, 
the dwelling place, or the nature of the malady of the person whom 
he wished to submit to the somnambule for examination. The patient 
did not make her appearance in the chamber where the experiment 
took place, until Mr. Foissac had endormed Miss Celine, and then, 
after taking one of the patient's hands in her own, Miss Celine examined 
her for ten minutes, not as a physician would, by pressing on the 
abdomen, percussing it, scrutinizing it in every way, but merely applying 
the hand again and again to the belly, chest, back, and head. Asked what 
she had observed in Miss . . . , she replied that the whole 
abdomen was diseased, that there was a schirrus and a great quantity 
of water in the region of the spleen, that the intestines were much 
distended, that there were pouches containing worms ; that there 
were tumors as big as an egg in which was contained pus-like matter, 
and that these tumors must be painful ; that at the bottom of the 
stomach was an engorged gland the bigness of her three fingers, that 
this gland was in the interior of the stomach and must needs impair 
the digestion ; that the disease was of long standing; and finally that 
Miss . . . must have headaches. She advised the use of an in- 
fusion of borage and of nitrated triticum caninum, 5 ounces of the 
juice of pellitory, taken every morning, and a very little mercury 
taken in milk. She added that the milk of a goat that had been rubbed 
with mercurial ointment half an hour before milking would be better. 1 
The nourishment should consist of white meats, gruel with milk, but 
no lemons. She allowed very little wine, a little rum, a la fleur 
d'oranger, or peppermint liqueur. This treatment was not observed, 
and had it been it would not have saved the patient. She died a 
year afterward. As the body was not opened it was not possible to 
verify what the somnambule said. ....... 

9. " In a case of some delicacy wherein very skillful physicians had 
prescribed mercurial treatment for an engorgement of the cervical 
glands, which they attributed to venereal disease, the family of the 
patient that was so treated, seeing grave symptoms supervening, 
wished to have the advice of a somnambule. The writer was called 
to attend this consultation, and did not fail to profit by this new 
opportunity to add to what the Commission had seen. He found a 
young woman, Mrs. La C, with the whole right side of her neck pro- 
foundly engorged by a great mass of glands lying close together. 
One was open, and from it issued a yellowish purulent matter. 

" Miss Celine, whom Mr. Foissac magnetized in the presence of the 
writer, put herself in rapport with the patient, and declared that the 
stomach had been attacked by a substance like a poison j that there was 

1 " Without attaching great importance to this singular coincidence of the som- 
nambule's prescribing the use of the milk of a goat rubbed with mercurial ointment, 
and the prescribing of the same by Mr. Dupuytren and the writer, the Commission 
must in its Report note it ; it is presented as a fact the authenticity of which the 
writer guarantees, but of which neither he nor the Commission can give any explana- 
tion." [Note by the Secretary of the Commission.] 


slight inflammation of the bowels ; that there was in the right upper part 
■of the neck a scrofulous malady, which must have been more extensive 
than it was then ; that by the adoption of a soothing treatment, which 
she prescribed, there would be betterment in two or three weeks. She 
followed this treatment for a little while, and there was a notable 
improvement. But the impatience of the sick woman, who found the 
return to health not speedy enough, determined the family to call 
another council of doctors. There it was decided that the patient 
should again be subjected to mercurial treatment. The writer there- 
after saw the patient no more, but learned that in consequence of the 
administration of mercury she had had very serious stomach troubles, 
which carried her to the grave after two months of great suffering. A 
minute of the autopsy, signed by Messrs. Fouquier, Marjolin, Cruveillier 
and Foissac, showed that there was a scrofulous or tubercular engorge- 
ment of the glands of the neck, two small cavities filled with pus, 
resulting from the discharges of the tubercles at the top of each lung, 
and that the mucous membrane of the great cul-de-sac of the stomach 
was almost entirely destroyed. These gentlemen ascertained, further, 
that there was nothing indicative of venereal disease, whether recent or of 
long sta?idi?ig." 

The report ends with these conclusions : 

" 1. That, in the state of somnambulism, Miss Celine indicated the 
diseases of three persons with whom she had been put in rapport. 

" 2. That the declaration of one of these, the examination made of 
another, after three punctures, and the autopsy held on the third, 
were found to agree with what the somnambule had declared. 

" 3. That the several treatments prescribed by her are not of the 
class of remedies that she might have known, and not such as she 
might reasonably be expected to recommend. 

4. That she applied them with some discernment." 


Mr. Foissac had the luck to be able to keep his word. 

We may imagine the emotion produced in the Academy by the 
reading of the report, only a few pages of which we have quoted. 
Seldom has so impartial, so clear, or so discreet an account been given 
of so great a number of observations. 

Applause was frequent, but when the question arose about printing 
the report, members began to have fears for the prestige of the 

" Were most of the things recounted in this report real facts," said 
Mr. Castel, "they would upset one-half of our physiological knowl- 
edge, and it would be dangerous to propagate these facts by means 
of the press." The Academy had almost decided to follow this ad- 
vice when Mr. Roux had the happy thought to propose a via media j 
hence the report was not printed, but it was autographed. 

It will be readily seen that despite a seeming exactitude " con- 
firmed by the autopsy " in determining the lesions, this exactitude 
has regard only to the general functions, and that the remarks we 
have already made, as well as those of Dr. Bertrand, lose none of 


their value. It is not vision of the organs that the commission found, 
but a sympathic perception, more or less precise, of the ailments of 
the patients. I remark further that these consultations of Miss 
Celine are slightly different from those of other somnambules already 
mentioned. She does not suffer the pains and aches she is examining ;. 
she simply perceives them as though they were something palpable ;: 
she feels of them (tdte), so to speak, but does not " catch " them., 
We shall see further on that this difference springs from the existence 
of two slightly different types of somnambulic perception. But the 
basis is the same, and it is always constituted by a possibility of 
nervic transmission ; only we must distinguish between imitative or 
imaginative transmission, which has no relation to .mental suggestion, 
and physical transmission, which serves as the basis of mental sugges- 
tion, and which may be more or less pronounced. 

" Most somnambules," says Dr. Charpignon, 1 " feel the pains of the 
persons with whom they are put in rapport. This sensation is tran- 
sitory, and leaves no trace on awaking if we take care duly to break 
the rapport. If it is the magnetizer that suffers, the sensation is most 
vivid, and often persists after awaking. If one in a state of ill health 
goes on magnetizing for several days, these impressionable somnam- 
bules become affected with the same complaint. Hence we must be 
very careful with regard to this point, and must exercise this pru- 
dence even with respect to psychic affections, for one can hardly 
conceive how serious is the influence of an agitated mind upon some 
somnambules. This identification [he adds] of the two nervous sys- 
tems produces sometimes the phenomenon of imitation, so that if the 
magnetizer uses his handkerchief, or coughs, the somnambule repeats 
the acts ; if he takes snuff, the somnambule sneezes ; prick the mag- 
netizer or give him a burn, and the somnambule feels the same pains 
in the same parts of the body." 

In this passage three different phenomena are confounded : 
i. Imitation of movements — a subject studied of late by Heiden- 

2. Hyperesthesia of the sense of smell (the magnetizer takes snuff,, 
the somnambule sneezes). 

3. Transmission of sensations. 

But evidently in practice these phenomena are usually associated,, 
and that constitutes one of the difficulties of experimentation, and is. 
at the same time a pretty strong argument for the theory of " sym- 
pathism," as we shall see. 

This word sympathism, employed sometimes by Charpignon, seems 
to me well chosen, and I shall accept it, giving to it, however, a more 
precise meaning. I will use it to signify the phenomenon of direct 
and instantaneous communication of the sense of pain and of other 
subjective sensations, of feelings, and of emotive states ; but not 

1 " Physiologie, M6decine, Mdtaphysique du Magnetisme," p. 72. 


facts of observation through eye and ear ; these might be comprised 
under the term "mimism.'' 1 Mimism, as related to diseases and to 
acts, will take the name of psychic contagion, while facts of disease- 
transmission (which is nearly always mediate and retarded) by touch 
alone, unbeknown to the one who undergoes the action, may be con- 
sidered as coming under the head of nervic contagion, properly so- 
called, ox physical nervic contagion. 

Physical sympathism may be subjective or objective. It is sub- 
jective in somnambules who themselves feel the symptoms they 
discover. In Miss Celine and in the two following cases observed 
by Dr. Pigeaire, it was objective only. 

10. " The lady put her hand in that of the somnambule, who forth- 
with said : ' Madame, you have a headache ? ' ' That is true,' the 
lady answered ; 'since this morning I have had a pain in the head.' " a 

11. "Some time after, Prof. Lallemand told me that a patient 
wanted to consult a somnambule. Wishing to be assured of the ex- 
istence of this magnetic faculty, which, so to speak, senses ailments, 
we know not how, I once more tried my somnambule. [Pigeaire's 
own young daughter.] Hardly had she touched the sick man's hand, 
when she said : 'Your legs, sir, are dead-like.' ' Tell me,' said I, 'are 
you a paralytic ; can you not move your legs ? ' ' No, sir.' ' You were 
ill after your coming to France,' added the somnambule, 'but now you 
are much better.' The old man made a sign of affirmation " (p. 61). 

12. " Mrs. Ch. had for some time been suffering in her left jaw . . . 
The lancinating pains were concentrated in the temple and in the 
branch of the lower jawbone. The patient indicated the track of the 
pain, and the track was along the dental canal. The somnambule 
taking Mrs. Ch.'s hand, brought her own hand to her own face, 
touched with a finger the dental nerve, then the temple and the jaw. 
At last she said : ' This nerve (the dental) is attached to a blood 
vessel (the dental artery) ; it is the same here (at the temple). Well, 
the vessels are so distended with blood, and their tissue so inflamed, 
that they compress the nerves and irritate them.' " 3 

This last observation presents an intermediate type. The somnam- 
bule does not suffer, but yet she seems to feel the effect of the con- 
sultation, since it is upon herself that she shows the track of the 

Two observations with which we are already familiar, that of Mrs. 
R., who clearly defined the ailments of one of my patients, selected 
purposely for this test [p. 32, supra], and that of Mrs. B., who divined 
Mr. Marillier's complaint [p. 95, supra], belong to the first category. 
These two somnambules felt distinctly in themselves the ailments 
diagnosed by them, and I remember another consultation of Mrs. 
R.'s, after which she took a full quarter of an hour to recover from 
an illness communicated to her by a patient. In the course of a few 

1 The author uses here the hybrid and bastard word "imitatisme." — Translator. 
s J. Pigeaire, " Puissance de l'Electricite Animale," p. 61. Paris, 1839. 
3 Charpignon, op. at., pp. 251, 252. 


minutes her abdomen became hard and swollen, as happens in cases of 
hysteria. Almost of a certainty, had she been awakened at that 
moment, the ailment would have persisted many hours. 

I add that then for the first time did Mrs. R., magnetized by me, 
make a diagnosis in the somnambulic state. She was in the habit of 
doing so in the waking state. One might say that in somnambulism 
she is too sensitive. 

But as there are somnambules that recognize the ailments of 
patients without appearing to be affected by them, it is well to ex- 
amine what the process is that guides them, and to this end I must 
touch on a phenomenon not less extraordinary, which, for a long 
time, I durst not publish. 



SOMNAMBULES of the second category are not satisfied with 
" entering into rapport " with the patient by touching his hand, 
or simply by remaining a few moments in his presence, as is often 
the case with Mrs. R.: they touch the patient at sundry points, and 
pass their hands over his body, intent upon what they are doing. 
Can it be that this performance gives them any indications as to his 
pathological state ? 

That is the question. Its importance is seen ; for could it be proved 
that on the surface of the body, and even at a certain distance, ail- 
ments more or less deep-seated manifest themselves in a way as yet 
unknown, science must seize upon so valuable a discovery, and seek 
to profit by it. 

m Now, for the first time, do I venture to speak of this phenomenon, 
though I have known it five or six years. And here is the history of 
my opinions : 

Some seven years' ago an old magnetizer, who was no longer in 
practice, for he was himself a sufferer, said one day to me : " Are you 
not afraid of doing yourself hurt by magnetizing so many people ? " 

" Why should I ? I am always in good health and can stand a good 
deal of fatigue." 

" I was not thinking of fatigue," said he. " But you take to your- 
self all the emanations of the patients, all the 7norbific fluids " (fluides 
ma/sains) . 

I laughed in his face. I did not believe in his " fluid," nor do I 
yet. But now I do believe in a certain physical action, whereas then 
I confounded magnetism with hypnotism, as people do to this day. 


It is true that at that time I magnetized very few sick persons, 
hardly any at all ; I made my experiments on healthy persons, and 
not till a few months afterward did I come to recognize the thera- 
peutic value of magnetism, and undertook to make research in that 

But during the whole of the following year, though I magnetized 
many a patient, I observed nothing of the kind the magnetizer had 
spoken of, nothing such as I remembered to have read of in certain 
books, giving no credence at all to the stories. 

In fact, it was not upon a sick person that I made my first observa- 
tion of this kind. We were in the country. The Count de P., who 
had witnessed my experiments with peasants, asked me to make trial 
upon him. 

I was unable to endorm him, but he believed he felt several very 
definite sensations. I did not speak a word to him, so as not to influ- 
ence his imagination, but I, too, while magnetizing him, had a very 
peculiar sensation in my hands, never observed by me before — a 
breath of cool air, very distinctly felt when I held my hand above his 
at the distance of a few centimeters, or when I passed my hand about 
over his body. This, sensation was not always of the same intensity, 
but sometimes, now and then, it was so distinct that it was like a per- 
son's breath blown between my fingers. Once the count exclaimed, 
" Oh, what a funny current ! " 

Only on finding that my sensations coincided with his, did I acquaint 
him with mine, and we spent many hours in studying them. 

I must mention that the count, though in good health, had just 
passed many sleepless nights with his cousin, who was seriously ill, 
and that he was very much exhausted. It was in order to recuperate 
from this fatigue that he had come into the country. 

The sensation I felt much resembled another one that was familiar 
to me. Any one may experience it by bringing the hand near to an 
electrostatic machine in action, but not so near as to receive a spark. 
But in spite of this analogy, I was inclined to think that it was noth- 
ing but a rapid absorption of heat, though I was aware that the phe- 
nomenon was not always in proportion to the temperature of our 
hands. At the same time I thought it might be all a subjective illu- 
sion, and now I regret my skepticism of that time, for because of it 
I neglected, in that case, as in a few others, to take detailed notes. 

But my attention was won, and I began, little by little, to see in 
this phenomenon a real cause. First I was forced to recognize that it 
is more or less independent of heat. 

I had a patient, anaemic in the highest degree, who always found 
my hand hot, even when it was numb with cold (it was winter), while 
she gave me a sensation of cold, despite the heat of her skin upon 
direct contact. 


Another patient, a man, who was also highly ansamic, gave me the 
same sensation, and in this case there was actual loss of heat, for my • 
hands became very cool in a few minutes. 

Usually the contrary is the fact : my hands grow warmer during 
magnetization and I have a distinct feeling of dryness, not always in 
direct proportion to the actual dryness of the skin. 

Still another patient, a man suffering from phthisis, caused me the 
sensation of a cool draught, but only from the level of the lungs; and 
an ataxic patient had a cold sensation in the left side, a hot in the 
right. The magnet produced exactly the same effect (without any 
distinction of poles), whereas I felt nothing. Finally, in other ataxic 
patients the case was reversed : they felt nothing, while I had a very 
clear sensation on one side, for one leg of the patient drew, as it were, 
a current of air from n^ hands (either hand), while the other leg did 
not draw at all, or did so less sensibly. 

By degrees I found that this phenomenon occurs in many other 
persons, sick or exhausted, and thus I am sometimes able to determine 
the degree of exhaustion of a single organ even. I must add that 
when there is complete paralysis of long standing, I feel nothing — at 
least so it has been hitherto — and that sometimes the sensation is 
lacking despite exhaustion. 

I have made some very curious observations on the feeling of a 
breath or faint current of air restricted to the track of a single affected 
nerve, but I have not yet arranged the facts in logical order. 

But then, to make amends, I have found another kind of sensation 
that has given me more positive results. I have relieved hundreds of 
persons of headache by simple imposition of hands. Simple though 
the process is, the phenomenon is complex, and I have no intention 
just at present to theorize upon it. Still, two things are certain: 1, 
that by this method (which is as old as the world) I remove the head- 
ache in 60 cases out of 100 within a few minutes ; and 2, that very 
often I can tell the precise instant at which the pain grows less and 
disappears under my hand. 

And this is how I notice the change : The aching head may be hot 
or cool, and everybody knows that headache may be produced by 
several different causes. But independently of these differences, one 
character, perceptible only to him who holds his hand upon the head, 
and who is in the habit of observing, is almost constant, to wit, a sen- 
sation of increased warmth under the hands if the pain is disappearing, 
but a lack of this sensation if the ache continues. 

This phenomenon may be observed not only in the head but over 
the whole surface of the body, and particularly at the epigastrium. 
If a given surface of the skin overlies a sound organ, the subjective 
sense of increasing warmth should begin immediately after the im- 
position of the hands, and should attain maximum after a few minutes. 


■ Some persons to whom I communicated this observation have more 
or less easily confirmed it ; but I cannot guarantee that the phenom- 
enon will, with everybody, present the same character or the same 
definiteness. I would add that, acting without contact, at the dis- 
tance of a few centimeters, I sometimes obtain the same results and 
the same sensations. 

As I am not writing a medical treatise, I pass over details and ex- 
ceptions, and merely remark that henceforth it becomes theoretically 
possible to diagnose an invisible malady by the touch of the hand. 
This power may depend simply on a heat reaction hitherto overlooked 
in medical thermometry. The details I have given will, perhaps, have 
some interest for Professor Grasset, who has just published an essay 
on the rapidity of the action of animal heat upon a thermometer as a 
diagnostic character, 1 and who holds that " the emissive power, often 
in contradiction to the patient's temperature, is, on the other hand, 
proportioned to the sensation had on touching the body." 

We know what close relations subsist between certain diseases and 
the peripheric temperature ; Mantegazza's studies show that, as a 
rule, pain reduces the body's temperature ; Mr. Charcot's researches 
have taught us to distinguish cerebral haemorrhage from softening of 
the brain, simply with the aid of thermometric readings ; and Mr. 
Williams asserts that he can tell from the degree of temperature ob- 
served to what category of patients an idiot belongs. Even Hippo- 
crates declared that " the expired air that issues cold from the mouth 
and the nostrils is a death sign," etc.* 

If it is so as regards rough general indications, it becomes probable 
that more detailed, more specific indicia might give a more or less 
exact idea of the pathological state of the organism — the more 
because the thermometric signs do not stand alone. Electric reactions 
come of necessity into play, and the already old observations of Frank, 
Nieszkowski and Sniadecki prove that some hysteric subjects are 
conscious of them. I have, myself, made some researches on this 
point, but cannot yet state the results with precision. These questions 
are too obscure, though some physicians think they find in electric re- 
actions the prinefpal causes of diseases. 3 

A subject a little better known, and one closely connected with the 
diagnostic of diseases by somnambules, is that of odoriferous material 

We must not be led astray by appearances. Somnambules seem- 
ingly employ only the touch or tactile transmission from a distance, 

1 " Un Nouvel Element de Thermometrie Clinique." Pub. in La Semaine M/dicale, 
•August, 1885. 

2 A detailed analysis of these questions will be found in Redard's ' ' Etudes de 
Thermometrie Clinique." Paris, 1874. 

3 See Scoutetten, " Evolution Medicale, ou de l'lilectricite du Sang," etc. Metz, 


but I have repeatedly found that they are also guided unconsciously 
by olfactive sensations. Cut them off from these, and you will in 
many cases see the appreciation and communication of symptoms 
sensibly lessened. Smell is the unconscious's own sense, just as sight 
is the sense of the consciousness, and touch their common master. 

Civilization has suppressed in us the science at once deep and wide 
which animals possess, and for which they are indebted to the sense 
of smell; but somnambulism and certain morbid states give it back its 
true value. We must not forget that if the hypnotized subject can 
remain insensible while inhaling ammonia, he may also, a moment 
later, distinctly sense the odor of apples by sniffing at several yards' 
distance the paper in which apples were wrapped some days previously. 
Now, it is certain that our individualities, our pathological states, 
our feelings even, betray themselves by a specific odor which we do 
not knowingly perceive, but which none the less acts upon smell, 
leaving on the brain unconscious traces that in turn associate themselves 
-with the state that produced them. And by virtue of the law of psychic 
reversibility, the sensation a, belonging to the state A, may reproduce 
the latter, just as the state may reproduce the sensation. (See Part 
III., Chapter viii.) 

That which is quite easy in a state of exceptional exaltation of 
smell and exclusive concentration of the attention upon one object (" rap- 
port "), of course, is hardly possible in the normal state, and some- 
times incomprehensible. But it is not to be forgotten that, as Dr. 
Monin says in his remarkable semeiological monograph, 1 " Odorant 
waves always reveal important chemic changes . . . and in all 
biological phenomena play a leading part." 

Most diseases have their specific smells, and these, by marking the 
stage of the pathologic evolution, may even guide us often to a sure 
prognosis. " In the chamber of a lying-in woman, the sour smell 
betokens to the practiced nose that all is going on well, that the work 
of milk secretion is beginning. On the contrary, an ammoniacal smell 
will make the physician fear the imminence of the morbid syndromus 
known as puerperal fever." Dr. Vidal, of Cassis, records in his 
■" Treatise on Surgery," that J. H. Petit, while traveling in Germany, 
■distinguished the smell of gangrene among other smells not less dis- 
agreeable, and so was able to cure a man dying of strangulated hernia 
(p. 6). The cutaneous perspiration and the various secretions of the 
skin diffuse round about each individual a special odor. This odor, 
commonly but little sensible, is very distinctly sensed by certain per- 
sons of highly developed sense of smell. Cadet de Gassicourt (" Diet, 
des Sciences Med.," vol. iv., p. 196) tells of a young matron who by 
the smell alone distinguished men and women. She could not endure 
the smell of her bed clothes when touched by any one but herself. 
1 " Les Odeurs du Corps Humain," p. 4. Paris, 2d ed., 1886. 


The Journal des Savants, 1864, relates that a monk in Hungary could 
by olfaction tell a chaste woman from one not chaste. Perty cites 
many cases of this kind. It appears that the Cardinal Alexander 
Albani, after losing his sight, distinguished by olfaction young women 
from old. 1 Debay reports an observation of a somnambule who, 
after examining by smell a score of different objects, apparently 
inodorous, as rings, pins, brooches, etc., belonging to ten different 
persons, sorted them and distributed them to their owners without 
making a mistake. 8 

It is even not impossible that certain psychic states may reveal 
themselves in the same manner, for certainly the odor of the cutan- 
eous exudations undergoes marked changes under the influence of 
sundry emotions. Says Dr. Monin : 

" The action of the nervous system on the odor of the cutaneous 
exudations is highly important ; not infrequently it is heightened or 
modified by moral excitement, depressing passions, and neuroses. 
Gamberini (Annali Universali, 1854) cites the case of a young man, 
who, in consequence of being crossed in love and of a violent fit of 
jealousy, gave out from his whole body a fetid smell, nauseating and 
very lasting. Dr. Hammond, of New York, lately reported (Med. 
Rec, June 21, 1887) the case of a young hypochondriac whose skin 
gave out the odor of violets ; of a victim of chorea who exhaled the 
odor of pines ; of an hysteric woman, who, in her crises, emitted the 
smell of bananas ; he tells of another hysterical woman whose trans- 
piration was restricted to the left anterior half of the chest, exhaling 
the odor of iris. In the latter case a chemical examination of the 
sweat was made and showed the presence of butyric ether." 

I have myself observed an hysterical woman in whom the approach 
of a paroxysm was announced by an odor of Gruyere cheese, or rather 
by an odor that recalled the taste of Gruyere. In another case a 
metalloscopic plate of tin applied to the patient for a few days 
acquired a very strong smell resembling that of petroleum, despite 
the patient's scrupulous neatness. 

" In localized perspiration (continues Dr. Monin) these odd osphre- 
siologic anomalies are by no means rare. Schmidt knew a man sub- 
ject to a hyperhydrosis limited to the hands, and who smelt of sulphur. 
Orteschi observed a young girl who without any trickery gave out a 
strong odor of vanilla from the commissures of the fingers. All these 
phenomena result from disorders of innervation. According to 
Hammond the odor of sanctity is not a mere rhetorical figure, it is the 
expression of a holy neurosis 3 perfuming the skin with effluvia, more 
or less agreeable, at the moment of the ecstatic religious paroxysm " 
(p. 17). " In lethargy (which hardly ever occurs in hysteric subjects 4 ) 

1 Perty, " Anthropologic," I., 187. Leipsic, 1874. 
9 A. Debay, " Hygiene des Douleurs," p. 32. Paris, 1877. 

3 Sainte nevrose is Dr. Monin's rendering of Hammond's phrase, whatever that 
may have been. — Translator. 

* Or rather in hypnotizable subjects. 


the cutaneous exudation emits a cadaveric smell, thus adding to the 
picture of death, already so realistic. This odor must doubtless have 
been the cause of frightful mistakes : such at least is the opinion of 

According to the researches I have made in cholera times, hyp- 
notizable persons constitute the greater part of the quickly fatal 
cases ; but such persons are the ones liable to fall into true lethargy 
(profound paralytic aideia), presenting all the appearances of death. 
It would be well, therefore, in such cases to have recourse to mag- 
netism, which might transform this state into somnambulism ; or to 
call in a somnambule who presents the phenomenon of sympathism, 
and who doubtless will know better than we how to distinguish 
apparent death. At all events one must not laugh at this means 
before one has tried it. 

As the different mental states find expression by means of a trophic 
action of the nervous system, they may produce a special cutaneous 
odor. The odor exhaled from the skin in mental diseases, an odor 
noted in 1862 by Dagonet, has been studied particularly by Fevre of 
Toulouse in his work " Les Alterations du Systeme Cutane dans la 
Folie" (Paris, 1876). He there says (p. 19) : 

" The sweat of insane persons has special sui generis emanations, 
penetrant and infectant, like those of hands that are kept constantly 
shut, something like the smell of mice or of the fallow deer. This 
smell is found especially in general paralytics and confirmed dements. 1 
It impregnates the clothing, bedding, furniture, as well as the rooms 
occupied by the insane ; and it is very lasting, in spite of soap and 
water. This odor is so characteristic in simple insanity [folie) that 
Burrows declares that were he to find it given out by any one he 
* would not hesitate to pronounce the person insane, even if there 
were no other evidence.' An English psychiater goes further : 
Knight declared that he could detect pretended insanity by the ab- 
sence of this physiognomic odor." 

This pathological exhalation may even be localized and may oc- 
cupy a region of the skin corresponding to the inward disorders. 
S. Weir Mitchell has noticed that in nerve lesions the corresponding 
cutaneous region emits a smell resembling that of stagnant water. 
Mr. Monin is of the opinion that in such cases we have an epithelial 
dystrophy rather than actual changes in the physiological secretion — 
but that is no reason why an hypersesthesic sense should not be able 
to detect by this means the state of the disease and its area. 

That most occupations may have their specific odors we can under- 
stand. Mr. Monin sees nothing out of the way in the saying of the 
famous Vidocq : " Place me in a crowd and there I will pick out 
from among a thousand a galley-bird by the smell alone." Chomel 

1 French de'ment, Latin demetis. The meaning is plain — a victim of dementia. — 


observed for six weeks a groom suffering from pneumonia, whose 
sweat retained during all that lapse of time the smell of the stable. 1 
Again, Monin writes : 

" In enuresic patients, a urinous smell, or a mousy smell, penetrant 
and which nothing can suppress, has often been of use to military 
surgeons in detecting the simulation of incontinence of urine. So, 
too, in constipation there is an odor from the skin like that of faeces ; 
often we have found that this odor perceived by the patients, con- 
tributes to bring on hypochondria, which is ever lying in wait for 
iiufferers from this complaint" (p. 25). 

In gout the skin secretions take a special odor, which Sydenham 
compares to that of whey. In jaundice the odor is of musk ; in 
oppilation, of vinegar ; in syphilis, of honey ; urinous in urinary dis- 
orders (cystitis) ; of sour beer in scrofula (Stark apud Hebra) ; of 
warm bread in intermittent fever (Heim) ; in diabetes when there is 
perspiration the smell is of hay (Latham), or rather of acetone (Picot), 
but according to Bouchardat, midway between aldehyde and acetone, 
being due to mixture, in variable proportions, of these two bodies. 
In cholera the odor is ammoniacal (Drasch, Parker) ; it is acid in 
what is called milk fever ; sweet in the onset period of the plague 
(Diemerbroeck), or honey-like, according to Doppner, who observed 
the plague at Vetlanka {Lancet, February 1, 1879) ; aceto-formic in 
rheumatism, particularly in the region of the engorged articulations 
(Monin) ; of new-plucked feathers in measles (rougeole) ; of new- 
baked bread in scarlatina ; in small pox the odor is that of the fallow 
deer; in typhoid fever it is that of blood (Behier). Frederic Berard 
goes so far as to say that, apart from the secretions, the cutaneous 
odor draws files to a still living body. However little noticeable it 
may be, it says plainly that death is near: a sweat having a cadaveric 
odor precedes death, says Bcerhaave (Aphorism 728 of the edltio pri?i- 
ceps). Dr. Althaus tells us that Skoda hardly ever was led into error 
by this indication, and Crompton, of Birmingham, also laid great stress 
upon this as an important clinical symptom. But the smell given out 
at the death agony is .totally different from the death-odor : it is 
universally admitted to be specific, and it differs entirely from the 
odor of putridity. 2 

It would be difficult to insure the exactitude, or, at least, the prac- 
tical value of all these assertions. But they suffice to show that there 
is ground in facts for the occult judgments of somnambules, not only 
from the diagnostic, but also from the prognostic, point of view. 
Clearly, disease is not bounded by the surface of the body; it goes 
beyond it. 

The reader, doubtless, has heard tell of extraordinary diagnoses made 
by somnambules at a distance, by means of some object belonging to 
1 Monin, op. cit., p. 25. - 2 Monin, op. cit., p. 27. 


the patients, especially by means of a lock of hair. Why by a lock 
of hair in particular? Perhaps because the hair, because of its 
odors, manifests better than any object the patient's pathological 
state. 1 Dr. Charpignon cites many facts of this sort, and, like all 
magnetizers, attributes this form of transmission to the magnetic 
fluid. These facts I do not bring forward here because I have never 
had cognizance of anything of the kind. Once only, some fifteen 
years ago, wishing to experiment upon this point, I took a lock of 
my grandmother's hair and handed it to a somnambule. She told me 
that it belonged to a beautiful lady with whom I was in love, and 
that my love for her had not cooled much of late. True, my grand- 
mother's hair, despite her age, is still black. This somnambule, like 
all extra-lucid somnambules, had her " professor," who turned her 
doings to profit for himself. To make sure of her lucidity, usually 
he did not endorm his subject ; he simply bandaged her eyes, which 
gave to the consultations an air of serenity. But the woman was 
sensitive and well endormed when I consulted her. Her state, how- 
ever, was one in which sensibility offers nothing out of the common. 
She would doubtless have divined better in the waking state. 

So I have not verified this phenomenon, but it appears to me to be 
not at all impossible. The hair itself possesses an odor peculiar to- 
each individual, and which varies according to sex, race, age and 
pathological state. We are told that the hair of the Chinese retains 
its musky odor even after it has been washed with potash (Galippe, 
paper read at the Societe de Biologie, January 25, 1879). " Hair- 
dressers [wig makers ?] can tell easily," says Mr. Monin, " simply 
from the smell, whether a bunch of hair was cut from the head of a 
living person, or whether it is made up of hairs that have fallen 

There are also wide differences with regard to the tactile sensations 
produced by a bunch of hairs. Their thickness, their elasticity, their 
smoothness, the rustle they make when rolled between the fingers, 
vary widely. And there is no doubt that there subsists a very close 
relation between the quality of the hair and the psychic states. Every- 
body knows the injurious effect of grief, which may be produced in a 
very short time. I have observed in myself that my hair becomes 
less supple under the influence of worry, softer under agreeable con- 
ditions. Gratiolet makes the observation that melancholy makes the 
skin dry and, consequently, the hair too. 

At the same time the odor changes perceptibly with the dominant 
state of the nervous system. " In hysterepilepsy," says Monin, " the 

1 Dr. E. Louis de Sere prefers a shirt or a flannel vest that has been worn by the 
patient. In his book are found thirty-five more or less extraordinary observations of 
this kind. Its title is "Application du Somnambulisme Magnetique au Diagnostic 
et au Traitement des Maladies." Paris, 1855. 


hair, at the moment of the paroxysms, has a special odor, always the 
same, resembling the smell of ozone, or of an electrical machine 
operated in dry weather" (p. $$). 

Hence, it may be that a hypersesthesic sensibility can detect in a 
lock of hair a certain number of true symptoms. " But," some one 
will, perhaps, say, " your whole explanation is rather obscure. A 
somnambule may have sensations that we never receive ; nothing 
more likely than that. But to find the smell of ozone in a lock of 
hair and to divine hysterepilepsy, are two things. So with regard to 
all the other objective explanations. It remains yet to be proved that 
somnambules know the meaning of these signs. Granted that each 
•disease, each emotion — why not each thought ? — is manifested out- 
wardly by a modification of our material emanations : that is quite 
possible ; but the bond that connects these modifications to these 
states, the inmost relations between them — where may the somnambule 
learn these ? " 

I answer : First, we must not exaggerate the phenomenon we are 
trying to explain. 

Sympathism exists, but it is a rare fact. In a hundred somnambulic 
diagnoses you will hardly find a dozen that are entirely exact. That 
suffices to exclude the hypothesis of bare chance, but it does not 
suffice for the formulation of a simple, precise theory, always applic- 
able. It is not well to prove too much, and to make that appear 
simple which is not simple. We must allow a little for chance, for 
natural acuteness, for involuntary suggestions, for the vagueness of 
most sympathic communications. Then the difficulty of finding a 
causal bond between a sensation felt and its physiological meaning is 
not so enormous as it seems. That bond exists, and it is formed in 
this way : 

Our experience is twofold : conscious and unconscious. The latter 
is the larger — by far the larger ; it is the first, has a basis in heredity ; 
it is ever growing richer at the expense of conscious experience ; it is 
ever insensibly completing the latter by generalizations, impulsions, 
presentiments. We have much more in our brains than we suppose — 
much science'we little think we have ; and Socrates was right when he 
said that we give birth to ideas, but do not create them. Ask a man 
"what was the color of the walls of a room he lived in last year — he 
will, perhaps, be stalled ; but take him to that room and he will 
readily see whether any change has been made. You may fail to 
recognize an old friend, but his face will, perhaps, suggest to you a 
series of recollections. You have never thought of defining the 
"cutaneous odor" of a loved person, but a like odor will make you 
think of her, and you will not even know why. What one of us has 
not been for a longer or shorter time with a number of sick persons 
that exhaled an odor or exerted "some other sort of action upon us, 


that to us was entirely unconscious ? But nevertheless there was then 
formed in our brains a close association between the presence of a 
sick person and that particular reaction. We do not feel our own 
cutaneous odor, but were it to be changed suddenly we should surely 
note the difference. And these associations are ever forming, and they 
persist. We are not aware, but our unconscious knows very well, that 
in a moment of fear, joy, pain, hope, anger, love, as well as in patho- 
logic states that we ourselves have been in, our individual atmosphere 
changes, and, recognizing this change in another individual, it may 
infer these several states, and even may, under exceptionally favorable 
conditions, make them sensible to ourselves. Now the conditions can 
nowhere be more favorable than in the state wherein : 
i. All extrane sensations are shut out ; 

2. The attention is wholly set in one direction ; 

3. All the senses may be in a state of exaltation. 

And if sometimes sympathism attains a surprising degree of force, 
if the symptoms we discover appear in ourselves, or rather reveal 
themselves by this apparition, that, again, is an effect that is not of 
necessity physical ; it, too, may be the product of a psycho-nervic re- 
flex action. But to understand it we must know that the association 
theory, as set forth in psychology, is very incomplete, in essential par- 
ticulars incomplete. Psychologists think they have said all when they 
admit associations between thoughts, feelings, sensations, volitions 
and movements. 

Well, if that were all, our psycho-physical mechanism would be 
utterly incomprehensible. We could not even tell why these associa- 
tions are not a dead letter, why they live and are operative. Bain long 
since felt the necessity of postulating an involuntary energy beyond the 
known associations. The theory of association is not false ; it is only 
incomplete. Psychological association is but a special case of biologi- 
cal association in general, and physiology will not be a comprehensible 
science — one comprehensible in its details — until we apply to it the 
same association principle that has been of such service to modern 
psychology. We will here dwell upon only one point of this applica- 
tion : there are associations between ideas (emotions, sensations, etc.), 
but there are also associations between ideas and states that seemingly 
have nought to do with psychology — bodily, organic states : there are 
ideorganic associations. 1 An idea may be associated with an inflamed 
finger, a skin secretion, a paralysis of the right arm, a sore on the left 
jaw, the quantity of adipose in the tissues, a neuralgia, an attack of 
cholera, of rabies, and so on ; and these associations may be so defi- 
nite and real, that, as the thought of Peter produces the thought of 
Paul, the thought of an haemorrhage shall produce haemorrhage, the 
thought of a cicatrization produce cicatrization, of a disease that 

1 See Appendices II. and III. 


identical disease. I have seen haemorrhages stopped by the act of the 
imagination ; I have seen sores healed rapidly by suggestion ; I have 
seen a fat hysteric woman grow thin in the course of a few weeks by 
somnambulic order ; I have seen cases of cholera brought about 
simply by thought-influence, apart from any epidemic action. 

Hence, it is nothing surprising if the recollection of some ailment 
should itself produce that ailment. 

Finally — and here ends my answer to the objection stated above — 
I do not at all intend to explain everything by one theory. A theory 
that is simple is rarely a correct theory, particularly in biology, par- 
ticularly in hypnotism ; and the tendency to refer unknown things to 
things known must not blind us to new and complex facts. Objective 
sensations, unconscious perception, ideorganic associations do not 
account for all the facts of sympathism and nervic contagion. We 
must have the courage to make that confession, and must look in 
other directions. 

I have already mentioned the sensations the magnetizer sometimes 
feels on touching the patient. I was not the first to observe them. 
There is nothing new in " hypnotism " ! A hundred years before me, 
these sensations were discovered and studied with special care by a 
physiologist and physicist now quite forgotten. His name was De 
Bruno, and he was the introducer of ambassadors to the Count d'Ar- 
tois, brother of the Iting of France. His first book was on mineral 
magnetism ; then, Mesmer's " animal magnetism " having attracted 
his attention, he devoted himself, 1 785-1805, to a series of original 
researches, the results of which would have filled two volumes. He 
died in 1818, leaving them unpublished. At that period, animal mag- 
netism having been discredited by the legitimists of science, the 
family of the deceased did not care to authorize the publication of 
the work ; it was handed over to the Societe de Magnetisme and 
appeared only in extracts under the name of Mr. de Lausanne. 1 This 
book had but a feeble echo. It was the further extracts quoted by 
Mr. Aubin Gauthier* in his "Practical Treatise" that made it a little 
better known, though without rescuing the author from oblivion. 

There are extraordinary things in Bruno's experiences that I can- 
not guarantee. He himself, it seems, had great sensibility, and per- 
haps " complementary imagination " was not altogether a stranger to 
him ; but as there is a certain analogy between his observations and 
mine, albeit I am not at all hypnotizable, I will give a few quotations: 

" If Nature (says this author) has endowed the one who magne- 
tizes with a nerve sensibility of some little delicacy, he will feel 
externally many of the irregular movements that take place in the 

1 Lausanne, " Des Principes et des Precedes du Magnetisme," etc. 2 vols. Paris, 
1819. The first volume contains the extracts from Bruno. 

2 A. Gauthier, " Traite Pratique du Magnetisme," etc., pp 233-289. Paris, 1S45. 


magnetized person ; sensations will be for him sure indications of the 
work that Nature, aided by his action, is doing in the patient. It is 
true that all persons are not gifted with this sensibility, and that it is 
not always of the same degree of delicacy in the same person; but some 
there are to whom this property becomes sometimes burdensome ; and 
there are others who, in a state of crisis, have such sensibility as ren- 
ders incredible the degree to which the delicacy of their organs makes 
them capable of distinguishing. To my natural organization I must 
refer a sensibility that has been perfected by the habitual use that I make 
of this property of my senses. I owe much to this use and to the 
attention with which I note my sensations. Were everybody to do as 
much, this property would become very common, and there might be 
developed in some individuals a delicacy of sensations that would 
seem far more extraordinary still than anything I may report about 
my own in the sequel " (pp. 86, 94). 

Let us observe, in the first place, that we find in Mesmer the follow- 
ing passage: " Touch at a little distance from the part is more power- 
ful, because there exists a current between the hand, or the conductor, 
and the patient. . . . . . . We observe the flow of a matter 

{fcoulement d'une mature) the subtility of which penetrates all bodies" 
(Prop, xxiii). 

It is perhaps this subjective sensation that led him to adopt the 
theory of a fluid. 

" There is no doubt," says Bruno, " that Mesmer formally desig- 
nated the currents (he even gives them a special name — tonic currents), 
and that he recognized their existence ; but there is nothing to show 
that he explained the subject to his disciples." 

Bruno distinguishes sensations of currents from etitrainments (attrac- 
tions) of currents. Apart from the sensation of a current, he further 
believed that he felt attractions toward certain parts of the patient's 
body. He communicated these experiences to Dr. Deslon, who no- 
ticed something similar on holding the hands an inch or two away 
from the stomach of a patient. He felt peculiar sensations " in the 
flesh around the root of the nails." 

" The sensations (says De Bruno) vary according to the person you 
magnetize. You feel, for example, that the breath [souffle) that blows 
upon your hands is warm. This warmth has differences that habit 
will teach you to distinguish ; the warmth is greater or less, more or 
less dry. Sometimes it makes the hands dry. I am accustomed to wet 
my hands, and not to wipe them ; the current soon removes the ex- 
cess of humidity. I wet the hands to retain the sensibility, which is 
reduced by dryness." 

It is seen that these sensations are nearly the same as those I expe- 
rienced before I knew of Bruno's works. As regards the influence of 
humidity, I made use of it in the Infant Jesus Hospital at Warsaw, in 
1881, not to increase the sensibility of my hands, but to increase 
their curative action (gentle massage) in a very obstinate case of 


hemianesthesia. The thought to do so came to me instinctively, and 
the effect was very favorable, for the patient's sensibility came back 
under my hands, and I gained ground far more rapidly than if the 
hands had remained dry. Four seances sufficed (with the aid of som- 
nambulism and hypnotic metalloscopy) to restore the patient's sensi- 

" In other circumstances (continues Bruno) you have sensations of 
cold, and this cold, too, shows differences. Sometimes there is a very 
faint tingling at the tips of the fingers ; again there is a prickling and 
a numbness. One experiences also a nervous shudder. A feeling of 
cold nearly always betokens an obstruction, an engorgement, or some 
atony " (pp. 76-79). " A dry, burning heat betokens a tension of 
the fibers ; a gentle, moist heat is a favorable symptom, which tells of 
a freer circulation, and sometimes an evacuation" (Deslon, Aph. 14). 

Formication at the finger tips indicates the existence of bile and of 
acrid blood, especially if it is felt when the head or the arms are 
magnetized (Bruno, p. 79). The benumbing of the hand, the fingers 
and their extremities, shows a defect in circulation (p. 77). The 
magnetizer sometimes feels a fluctuating motion in the fingers, which 
tells him that a movement of the blood is going on (un mouvcment 
sanguin s'effectue) in the patient (p. 78). When there is slime (des 
glaires) in the stomach or chest, the fingers seem to become clumsy 
and stiff ; sometimes one feels in the fingers a circular pressure as 
though a silk thread were wound around them (Mainduc, Deleuze, 
"Instr. Prat.," 342). This pressure sometimes appears as high up as 
the wrist, which feels as though a bracelet were tightly clasped about 
it (Deslon, Aph. 10 ; Bruno, 77). When there is nervous relaxation, 
the hand is quickly wearied ; there is a degree of weakness in the 
fingers and wrist (Bruno, 78 ; Deleuze, 343 ; Gauthier, 11, 12). 

Besides these sensations in the hands, Bruno had also sympathic 
sensations all over the body. " When I am very near and face to 
face with a patient," he says, u I feel the reaction of his worh 1 in the 
part opposite, so that an ache in the liver makes itself felt in the 
spleen, or parts adjacent ; and one in the spleen, in the liver. But 
when I am at a distance from the patient, the pains are felt in the 
same viscera as are affected. These observations, repeated almost 
daily for three years, confirm me in the belief that like parts in each 
individual exert upon one another reciprocal action." 

An English author, Dr. Mainduc, quoted by Deleuze (" Inst. Prat.," 
342), gives some indications that do not agree always with those of 
Bruno. For the latter cold indicated obstruction ; while, according to 
Mainduc, in obstructions one feels a sensation of acridity, dryness, 
contraction and formication, if there is no inflammation, and of 
warmth if there is inflammation. Contusions produce a sense of 

' Physiological work ; the work of his organs. — Translator. 


heaviness and numbness in the hand. The presence of worms pro- 
duces formication or a pinching sensation (pincement) in the fingers. 
In nervous relaxation there is a feeling of weakness in fingers and 


" I know a man," says Deleuze, 1 " who was very closely associated 
with the one whose work I have quoted. He feels the disease of those 
he magnetizes ; he experiences in advance, and sometimes in a very pain- 
ful way, the crises they are soon to have." " I know (says Gauthier) 
a lady of about 50 years, a grandmother ; she has been present at the 
several child-births of her daughter-in-law ; and placing her hands on 
the seat of the pains, she felt and announced in advance the crises 
that were about to come " (p. 278). 

I shall not go so far ; but, as I have already said, by putting my 
hands on the suffering organ, I can, not always, but very often, tell 
the moment when the trouble is disappearing, for then it is that I 
have the inward impression of a gentle warmth, ot a warm shiver. 2 
According to Bruno, such a sensation announces that the circulation is 
in equilibrium. On the contrary, if the hands grow cold, instead of 
warm, I begin to have doubts of success. "I know a lady," says 
Deleuze again, " who when she begins to magnetize feels much heat in 
her hands. After a seance of three-quarters of an hour, her hands 
become quite cold ; she then no longer acts " (p. 334). " I also know 

1 " Instruction Pratique," etc., p. 344. 

2 A lady of my acquaintance whom I taught to magnetize, though without com- 
municating to her the phenomenon in question, being elated by the successful result 
of her first experiment, wrote to me as follows : "As I announced to you in my last 
letter, 1 have, by the aid of the hypnoscope, found three persons of sensibility. One 
of them is Mrs. A.'s daughter, a girl of 18 years. One day, seeing her suffering 
from a severe headache, which never lasts less than two or three days, I began by 
touching her forehead and head, as you taught me to do, and as I learned in the little 
book " Le Magnetisme Curatif." In ten minutes the ache was over ; it came back the 
next day, weaker, at the same hour, and did not return on the following days. I can- 
not express to you my gladness and astonishment. But that is nothing compared 
with what remains to be told. The same young lady has for some years suffered fear- 
fully on the first and the third day of her period. She was suffering in this way a few 
days since ; she was bathed in perspiration and did nothing but cry for pain. The 
thought occurred to me to try the same means, for all the remedies ordered by the 
doctors had been without effect. Thinking that anyway this could not do her any 
harm, I laid my hands upon her stomach and then made passes. In 10 or 15 minutes 
my patient was sleeping quietly, and she slept for nearly two hours. Upon being 
awakened she was entirely well, and the third day of the period passed without any 
pain. Can it be that my action produced this result ? I can hardly believe it, for she 
fairly writhed in agony. Tell me what you think about it. And, strange to say, / 
felt the pain going away, as though something was becoming assuaged [auelaue chose 
s'apaisaii] under my hands. (Is that an illusion of mine ?) I felt a strange pulsation 
in my hands, and particularly in the fingers. After every treatment of this kind, I 
find myself horribly fatigued ; it was as though 1 were losing part of my strength. (Is 
that, too, an effect of my imagination?) Please explain all this to me, and advise me 
what I am to do in other cases." 


several magnetizers who, when they lay their hand upon the seat of 
an internal ailment, feel a pain extending to the elbow ; the hand 
grows numb and even becomes swollen. This effect grows less with 
the disease ; it ceases with the cure, and this cessation shows that the 
magnetism is no longer needed." "I have known a physician to 
experience this sensation the first time he tried to magnetize. In 
other persons it does not appear till after repeated trials. I have not 
experienced it myself. Yet some effects that I have experienced 
under sundry circumstances lead me to believe that I should have 
acquired it had I taken pains to study the cause that produced them" 

<PP- 33°, 33 1 )- 

As for me, I never have felt any direct and immediate painful sen- 
sations. As an immediate effect, I have often felt simply fatigue, an 
exhaustion of a peculiar kind not in proportion either to the move- 
ments performed or to the emotion or the psychic concentration. 

We must distinguish between these phenomena. 

The action of the magnetizer in making passes produces fatigue, 
like all monotonous movements, though they be slow. But this 
fatigue is something well known ; it is muscular fatigue. We can 
fatigue in this way the arms, but not the legs, for we do not magne- 
tize with the legs, and in most cases of magnetizing persons in good 
health one has no other sensation but that of fatigue of the muscles. 

With novices in magnetism in certain important circumstances, and 
particularly in dealing with patients that are seriously ill, another 
sort of fatigue is added to the first — that of exhaustion by emotion. 

The sufferings of others cause us suffering through sympathy. 
Now, every suffering, every painful emotion, causes exhaustion, espe- 
cially when prolonged. This fatigue is not localized in the muscles. 
On the contrary, the muscles may be exceptionally excited under the 
influence of such an emotion. Persons who are feeble and ill regain 
their strength when called upon to care for a person dear to them, 
who is ailing worse than themselves. But at last an emotion may 
produce exhaustion in an instant and give a sense of prostration, of 
moral fatigue. - 

Finally, there is still another sort of fatigue, known only to those 
who have practiced magnetism for a long time. This, too, is an 
exhaustion, even an exhaustion more lasting than that caused by an 
emotion, but it is of a different character. This I will call external 
exhaustion, for it produces a feeling as though the surface of the body 
chiefly were fatigued. Especially in the hands, one has a very un- 
pleasant feeling of dryness. The surface of the body seems to us 
void ; ' we are no more master of the ambient air ; it presses upon us 
and weighs upon us. And this sense of exhaustion, if due to an 

1 In the original vide, empty, void, etc. The sense is by no means obvious. — 


important cause, is not easily removed. Rest acts very slowly — far 
more slowly than in muscular or in psychic fatigue. There is only 
one way of working the miracle of reconstitution, and that is mas- 
sage. 1 

The state of the hands is sensibly bettered by dipping them in cool 
water, and the state of the whole body by a vapor bath, but massage 
is needed for complete restoration. I recommend to all who magnetize 
many patients these three processes : First, immediately after a mag- 
netization, dipping the hands in water, and in case of need, or from 
time to time, a vapor bath, then massage. 

Once, when in this sort of state, I laid my hand upon the forehead 
of a patient in somnambulism suffering from headache. She allowed 
the hand to remain for a few minutes, then put it away without say- 
ing a word. " Why did you remove my hand?" I asked : " it always 
soothes you." "Yes; but it is spoilt." 

When, after having dipped my hand in cool water, and taken some 
rest, I visited her again, she no longer put my hand away. " Why do 
you allow it to remain now?" I asked. "Because it is better" was 
the reply. She could not tell me what she meant by saying that 
a hand is " better," " good," or " spoilt," but subjectively I was forced 
to recognize these differences, for my " spoilt " hand was spoilt for me 
too, because of a sense of weakness and disagreeable dryness (a sub- 
jective impression this, for the hand was not dryer than usual) and of 
an enervating heat. But the conditions must be exceptional for this 
effect to be produced in me in such a degree. 

The prediction of the old magnetizer was fulfilled for the first time 
under the following circumstances : I was attending a consumptive 
patient, whose fulgurant pains came on by paroxysms and lasted for 
hours. There was only one way of allaying them — imposition of 
hands. The reader will laugh at the remedy, yet the fact was so,, 
nevertheless. Taking a seat by the bedside of -the patient, I laid one 
hand on his thigh and waited for the thermic reaction. It did not 
come till after 10 or 15 minutes : the pains grew less by degrees, and 
at the end of a quarter of an hour, sometimes later, they would end. 
As for me, I would be quite fatigued. 

And yet neither the physical fatigue nor the emotion — I had grown 
accustomed to these crises — could account for this general sense of 

1 The phenomenon of exhaustion seems to have been observed when the magnetic 
treatment was first used in France, for Jussieu mentions it in his report to the King : 
" The treatment, especially treatment by contact, may fatigue those who administer 
it. I have never experienced this myself, but I have seen many magnetizers, worn 
out after protracted seances, have recourse to the tub [in the original, baquet, a tub of 
water employed by Mesmer in his seances. — Translator^ and to contact with another 
man, and regain their power by the use of these two means." (" Report of one of 
the Commissioners appointed by the King to investigate Animal Magnetism." Paris, 


exhaustion. I had not, however, any painful sensation. But the fol- 
lowing morning, and sometimes in the night, I used to feel in the 
back or in the arms pains of a peculiar kind. At first they did not 
last long, and though they were pretty sharp they impressed me as 
counterfeit pains, superficial, extraneous. They were but an echo of 
the fulgurant pain of the patient. 

This phenomenon was repeated rather often without any injurious 
effect. I have since then observed other cases where transmission 
seemed unquestionable — in fact I have observed many cases of double 
transmission, that is, of transmission to a third person unbeknown to 

I would catch a headache, say, or some rheumatic affection, from a 
patient, and involuntarily would transmit it to another, though with de- 
creased violence and with some retardation. A pain thus doubly trans- 
mitted I have always been able to remove so that it would not return. 
Twice only have I observed in myself almost immediate transmission. 
In the first instance there was nervous aphonia that had to be cured as 
speedily as possible, for the patient was to deliver an address in pub- 
lic. The voice was restored for the whole time of the address, but I 
was hoarse for a full quarter of an hour. The second instance was 
one of cold in the head, which was communicated to me almost in- 
stantaneously by one of my patients. She experienced a little relief 
(though I had magnetized her for an entirely different ailment). As 
for me, the cold in the head lasted the whole evening, disappearing the 
next morning. In other cases the "communicated" cold in the head 
would appear only in the night. I would awake feeling really ill and 
hardly able to breathe ; then I would sleep again, and it was all over. 

So curious are these phenomena of nervous contagion that it needs a 
little courage to speak of them ; but we must speak of them, for 
assuredly in this transmission we recognize the first stage in mental 
transmission. Organic states can be transmitted from one individual 
to another, and hence thought transmission is only a question of de- 
grees, for a thought always ansv/ers to a special organic state. 

Nervous contagion is a rather frequent phenomenon, provided one 
takes the trouble to notice it. For me it was an easy thing to find, 
for ever since my fourteenth or fifteenth year I have been in the 
habit of observing whatever goes on within myself and the effects 
produced by different influences. In the meantime I never have 
been seriously ill, but if I suffer from any indisposition I am able 
readily to say what is the cause. The transmitted ailments were the 
only ones that I was unable to refer to any common or ordinary 
cause, and little by little I was forced to succumb to the evidence 
and to admit the phenomenon in question. 

Still — and this I never have thought of denying — the influence of 
the imagination may play a part in many of these phenomena. 


When you take a headache without any suspicion that the person 
you are magnetizing has one, and it disappears in him the moment it 
appears in you, there is reason to infer physical nervous contagion. 
In most cases the magnetizer knows of the ailment, and if so, then 
quite likely psychic nervous contagion by ideoplasty is added to the 
direct action. Here are a few highly instructive facts upon this 
point, that have been confirmed by the experience of many persons. 
Several Brussels newspapers mentioned them at the time of their 
occurrence. The following narrative is written in the form of a 
feuilleton by A. Lebrun, a clerk in the (Belgian) Ministry of Justice, 
a neophyte in magnetism, and therefore an ardent apostle : 

. . . "Another day I met two poets and a prose writer; and as one 
is required to give names when one speaks of magnetism, I may say 
that the poets were Messrs. Adolphe Mathieu and Van. Hascelt, and 
the prose writer Mr. Deschamps. The first-named and the last were 
strong unbelievers ; Mr. Van Hasselt was already well along in the 
road of the faith ; he was a catechumen, asking only for full illumina- 
tion. I noticed my three men right on Cannes Street. I had notified 
Mr. Montius, the magnetizer ; we found him at home, in company 
with a female somnambule, and he set to work at once. The odd- 
ness of the mimicry of magnetism caused the two unbelievers to 
chuckle. As for Mr. Van Hasselt, he was as solemn and thoughtful 
as one of Lamartine's " Meditations." Mr. Montius, noticing this, 
conceived forthwith a favorable opinion of the poet, and wanted to 
make an experiment upon him. But now the somnambule complained 
of a violent headache that had come upon her suddenly. Mr. Montius 
smiled with an air of satisfaction. We asked him why he smiled. 
' Why,' he answered in a whisper, ' I gave her that headache on pur- 
pose It was now the turn of our unbelievers to smile. But the 
somnambule having heard what Mr. Montius had said, exclaimed : 
' Since 'tis you that gave it me, you can take it away ! Take it away, 
then ; I pray you, take it away ! ' ' One moment,' said Mr. Montius ; 
and applying one hand to the somnambule's forehead and the other 
to Mr. Van Hasselt's, he made him a gift of the somnambule's head- 
ache, she exclaiming with glee: 'Thanks! My headache is gone.' 
'Yes, gone, but I have got it,' cried Mr. Van Hasselt, with a woful 
expression of countenance. The rest of us burst out laughing up- 
roariously, with the exception of the patient, whose pain grew more 
and more intense. He begged Mr. Montius to make the headache 
pass to another head. .'Well, here is mine,' said Mr. Deschamps; 
' and if you succeed in introducing into it what is in Mr. Van Has- 
selt's, I pronounce you, not in verse, but in correct and polished 
prose, a being such as fancy paints, a very wizard ! ' 'I will try,' the 
magnetizer answered, ' but I do not guarantee success ; unbelief is a 
force that repels magnetism.' At the same time, raising his arms, he 
laid one hand on the head of Mr. Van Hasselt, and the other on that 
of Mr. Deschamps. I observed attentively the face of the latter ; 
the two corners of his mouth, at first kept wide apart by a sardonic 
smile, insensibly came together so that soon his mouth made a per- 
fect letter O, proving that the serious mood of Mr. Van Hasselt was 
gaining on our friend. Suddenly he freed himself from Mr. Montius's 


hands, saying : ' Enough ; I surrender. The devil take me if I 
haven't an able-bodied headache!' 'Yes, but 1 am beginning to 
think that you have all conspired to act a comedy at my expense,' 
said Mr. Mathieu, who till now had looked on, seemingly meditating 
deeply. ' Pa»s my headache to him to convince him,' said Mr. Des- 
champs to the magnetizer. 'With pleasure,' Mr. Montius replied ; so 
he operated on Mr. Mathieu as upon the two others. Again the 
experiment was entirely successful, so that the new patient shook his 
head repeatedly as though to make sure of the tenacity of the ache 
he felt. He wanted to keep his megrim for some time, for fear lest 
conviction should vanish suddenly with the ache. 

" Such, reader, is the story I had to tell you for your convince- 
ment, for, I do confess to you, they that believe in these phenomena 
have a mania for sharing their conviction with everybody." ' 

It is probable that in these experiments the first transmission — 
from magnetizer to somnambule — was effected by a physical nervous 
contagion, but in the cases that follow ideoplasty plays the principal, 
if not the only, role ; else the ailment would be considerably lessened 
at each transmission. 

Du Potet, one of the most experienced practitioners, advised his 
pupils always to magnetize without contact, and the reason he gives 
is this : 

"Inoculation by Contact. — Among the facts I have ascertained I 
may quote these : A woman suffering from a gouty arthritic affection, 
whose joints had become solidified, whose limbs had lost their flexi- 
bility, whose jaws, even, could not open fully, was put in rapport with 
one of my somnambules. This somnambule, after having seen the 
ailment perfectly and indicated the thermal waters that would cure it, 
complained of suffering in the same parts that were affected in the 
patient. I paid little attention, for it had been just so with respect to 
other ailments, and no ill results had followed. I awakened her, 2 but, 
much to my surprise, she was unable to stir ; she could not open her 
mouth. In vain I tried to stay the trouble, which I supposed to be 
momentary. . . . She remained in this state three days. During 
that time we had to feed her like a baby, giving her broth in small 
spoonfuls, her mouth being three-quarters shut. Little by little the 
trouble left her. 

" Another somnambule, after touching a patient whose blood was 
doubly corrupt — by syphilitic and by scrofulous virus — lost all her 
hair a few hours after the mere contact. 

" A convulsive hiccough, a cough, a stitch in the side, were trans- 
mitted by contact to another sleeper. 

" Another, from holding for some time the hand of an idiot, re- 
mained stupid for some days." 

Here are facts it will be easy to make merry over. Idiocy, it will, 

perhaps, be said, is contagious — for magnetizers ! Say what you will, 

1 F. Lebrun, " Transmission des Douleurs d'une Personne a une Autre (L'£- 
mancipation, Aug. 4, 1838) ; Lafontaine, " Memoires," vol. i., p. 87. 

2 The somnambule should never be awakened till all these symptoms have been 
done away. — Du Potet' s Note, 


the thing will remain true nevertheless. I have myself observed a 
like case with respect to another disease, though in a less degree. 
But I do not wonder at the incredulity these facts may meet with. 
With shame do I confess that after having read, hardly four years 
ago, the passage I have quoted from Du Potet, I made a big interro- 
gation point and two big exclamation points on the margin of his 
book. These I now blot out and go on transcribing : 

" Here is what Puysegur says about this matter : ' The suscepti- 
bility of patients in crises for catching {susceptibility .... de gagner) 
readily certain maladies, has many times been demonstrated for me. 
I have seen magnetic somnambules, in the midst of a swarm of many 
patients, ask [leave] to quit their place, saying that their neighbors 
made them ill j and others to withdraw precipitately. And often I 
have had to repair the mischief caused by the approach of certain 

I observed lately a similar case. A young person, in good health 
at the time, produced, simply by her presence, an exceedingly violent 
paroxysm in an endormed lady. Some weeks later this young person 
fell gravely ill of typhoid fever, aggravated by an old heart complaint. 
Was it the influence of this on-coming pathological state that caused 
the mischief, or was it the girl's own individuality? Anyway, there 
was no suggestion : the girl had no thought of the disease, and she 
loved the lady well. 

" One day (continues Du Potet) I consulted my somnambule, Vielet,, 
upon the kinds of diseases most readily communicable to somnam- 
bules ; he had himself twice or thrice had a sad experience in that 
way. His answer, which he gave in writing, and which I still have, 
was, that the most dangerous are epilepsy, scurvy, diarrhoea, cold 
paralysis, sciatic gout, catalepsy, itch, cold humors, and all venereal 

" As for myself, I never have magnetized a consumptive or a 
patient who, having taken [has been taking] mercury, 1 without expe- 
riencing, in the former case, pains in the chest, and without feeling, 
in the latter, pains in the bones, and particularly in the finger-joints 
and the wrists. 

"While magnetizing a young man who had a luxation of the femur 
in consequence of a lymphatic deposit in the joint, I was seized, on 
leaving his house, with very sharp pains in the limb on the same side. 
Believing this to be personal to me, I at first did not give it much 
attention ; the trouble passed away quickly, but on the next day it 
was the same. Yet, at entering the patient's house, I was not suffer- 
ing at all ; I could not believe in this singular phenomenon, and 
wished to make sure of its reality, so for two days I suspended the 
treatment, and felt nothing. I resumed the treatment, my joint was 
ailing again, and I began to drag the leg. I found a pretext for not 
attending to the case. I did not at that time know that in magnetizing 

1 .SiV in the original : un malade qui, ayant pris du mercure. Instances of simi- 
lar defective grammatical construction are rather frequent in these quotations from 
authors, and the translator has for the most part retained them in the English version. 


without contact the action is of the same efficacy, and that this inoculation ' 
might have been avoided. 

" One day, while making some experiments upon a young man 
suffering from a syphilitic malady (of the existence of which I was 
unaware), I held his knees between mine (according to Deleuze's 
method). After about a quarter of an hour I felt sharp pains in my 
legs. I asked the patient to tell me whether he himself had pains in 
the same region ; he answered that just then he did not suffer pain, 
but that usually his suffering was unbearable. I desisted from my 
experiments, and the pains I had thus ' caught ' persisted for a part 
of the day. 

" In consequence of this discovery I have many a time said to 
patients that I was magnetizing : You have pain in such a part of 
your body ; and every time this proved to be true. 

" Having never had any disease, and never having suffered from 
pain or ache, when I feel some pain in magnetizing I know it comes 
not from me, and I hold myself sufficiently aloof from the patient to 
discontinue the facts of this inoculation. 

" Other magnetizers have told me of facts of the same kind. I con- 
fess that for a long time I refused to believe their testimony and my 
own as well. This is no longer possible for me, for I have observed 
too much to harbor a doubt. 

" In order to avoid these mishaps I advise the practitioner to mag- 
netize by touch as seldom as possible." 5 

But the absence of contact is no absolutely sure guaranty. Some- 
times, though rarely, transmission takes place at some distance in 
case there has been established between two persons the close and 
strange relation which we have not yet explained, known as the 
" magnetic rapport." Du Potet himself cites some cases of this sort : 

'■'■Inoculation without Contact. — By a singular play of the magnetic 
forces, and perhaps because of the analogy of two nervous systems, 
unexpected phenomena sometimes occur. Thus I have many times 
seen a rapport set up between magnetized subjects that did not know 
each other, and what one felt was felt by the other, though often they 
were separated by walls. This makes a good deal of trouble for you, 
for while you are giving all your care to the patient that is affected 
sympathically, the other, whom you have left at rest, becomes agitated 
again and the paroxysm returns, and vice versa. In this way hours 
pass in useless .and very fatiguing work ; then the hours have to be 
changed, or you must find some one to take your place with one of 
the two patients. Do not think that in these cases imagination plays 
a part. In a hospital in St. Petersburg 3 where two epileptiform 
nervous affections were given to me for treatment — complaints that I 
cured, though they were serious and of long standing — well, though 
the patients were separated by a great distance, and one was on the 
first floor, the other on the second, the moment I magnetized the one 
the other had a crisis, yet there was nothing to convey intelligence to 
the one I did not magnetize ; and not once only, but twenty times, 

1 Transfer of disease to the magnetizer. 

s Du Potet, " Manuel de 1'^tudiant Magnetiseur, " pp. 251-256. Paris, 1S68. 

3 See Journal d 'u MagnMsme, vol. i.,^). 289. 


both at night and in daytime, have we been able to observe this 
singular phenomenon. My entry was unannounced, made without any 
noise whatever ; often, indeed, the two patients would be in natural 
sleep ; yet, no matter which one I magnetized first, the one I was not 
thinking of at all soon would come out of her sleep and utter fearful 
shrieks. I permitted this sympathy to go on for a while, for my own 
instruction, but then I broke it up by producing several artificial 
crises in succession. Thus I removed the too acute sensibility of 
their nervous systems." 

There was a simpler way, viz. : forbidding the somnambule by 
verbal suggestion to undergo any involuntary action. This recourse 
is always successful, provided it be availed of in a state approaching 

" Here is a fact more incredible still, yet no less true. Magnetism 
is bound for a long time to come to exercise the mind of the physi- 
ologist and the psychologist. Facts novel and incomprehensible are 
coming into notice every moment, owing to the singular properties of 
the agent employed. I was attending a patient living in the street 
des Mauvaises-Paroles, in Paris. He was but little sensitive to mag- 
netism. But one evening he experienced pretty violent commotions 
{dprouva des commotions assez violentes). I left him resting quietly. The 
next evening the same phenomenon ; but another patient whom I was 
attending, and who did not know the first at all, had set out for Fon- 
tainebleau a few days before. This man, too, was very little sensitive 
to magnetism. But what was my astonishment, when after three days 
he came back to Paris, to learn from him that he had experienced 
violent jerks (secousses) at the same hour, the same minute, and for 
the same length of time. At the moment I made no remark, but that 
very evening I magnetized this patient. He lived in the street Coq- 
He'ron ; the other patient, he of Mauvaises-Paroles street, had the 
same nervous symptoms. I ceased and the nervous affection stopped. 
I resumed the magnetization at other hours, and this singular rapport 
was broken up. I repeat, these men did not know each other at all, 
and knew nothing of the curious observation they afforded me in this 

This last fact is not conclusive. If the change of time sufficed to 
break up the rapport, then no rapport existed. When a phenomenon, 
apparently inexplicable, manifests itself at a fixed hour, it is nearly 
always explainable by imagination, conscious or unconscious. Mr. 
Du Potet does not say expressly that he magnetized his second 
patient at the same hour at which he had been in the habit of magnet- 
izing the first, but that seems to have been the case. Now, nothing 
is more common than the coming-on of a nervous trouble at the 
habitual time of hypnotization. Anyway, Du Potet's observation is 
recounted too vaguely to be of any service as proof. I have cited 
it, therefore, only to show the possibility of facile illusion in similar 

The following is an observation of Charpignon's : 


" We have had occasion (he writes)' to operate in a case of acute 
arthritic rheumatism on the second day of the attack. It is needless 
to speak of the sharpness of the pains and their continuance for five 
or six weeks. A few days of magnetization brought about a grati- 
fying alleviation, and the relief would soon have been complete had 
not we ourselves been seized with symptoms of the same disease. This 
accident taught us the value of the advice given by magnetizers, to 
demagnetize oneself after having operated in certain maladies. We 
had to suffer then, as on many another occasion, for this careless- 

The fact, then, is vouched for by many practitioners ; still, we must 
not exaggerate it. It is rather rare, and depends upon a multitude of 
conditions that make the studying of it difficult. In the first place, 
there are magnetizers that never have witnessed it. The person that 
experiences this contagion from time to time, may not experience it 
in- the case of a very serious malady, but may undergo its action very 
distinctly indeed in some case of little consequence. It seems that 
here, as in all instances of contagion, individual predisposition counts 
for more than the agent itself. And in the present instance this pre- 
disposition is itself conditional, depending as it does on a certain mo- 
mentary rapport between the patient and the magnetizer. So to speak, 
the two must be tuned in one key. Magnetizing by passes facilitates 
this " tuning," but it seldom attains the degree of concord that 
brings about communication of pains, more rarely produces transmis- 
sion of objective sensations, and more rarely still thought-transfer- 

It is generally thought that contagion is always material. That is 
an error. There are two kinds of contagion, to wit : 

1. Material contagion, which might be subdivided, but which is not 
of interest to us here. Its agents are visible parasites, microbes, 
virulent liquids, and miasmata. (I should be much embarrassed were 
I asked what a miasma is, but I suppose it is some deleterious gas. 2 ) 

Barring cases of direct communication of the parasite, or cirect 
introduction of the virus into the blood, this contagion is never 
inevitable ; but non-hypnotizable persons are liable to it in the same 
degree as the hypnotizable ; and if anything makes resistance against 
it, it is the general state of the individual's strength and health 
(physiological resistance), without regard to his sensitivity. It mani- 
fests itself, however, only in a few categories of diseases known as 

2. Nervous Contagion. — This is twofold : 

1 Op. cit., p. 179. 

2 This is not exactly Mr. Bechamp's definition, who says that miasmata are "agents 
whether ponderable or imponderable, diffusible, without definite form, of a physical or 
a chemical nature, which, transported by the air, are able to modify at many points at 
once the functionment of that which is anatomically alive in us, the microzjrma."— 
Bulletin de VAcad. de Aftfd., p. 1727. 1884. 


a. Psychic nervous contagion (imagination, imitation, ideoplasty), 
from which very many persons are exempt — some 70 per cent. — but 
which manifests itself in a larger number of diseases (contagious or 
non-contagious), but particularly in nervous maladies of the cerebro- 
spinal and ganglionary systems. It is more widespread than one sup- 
poses, but it does not, any more than material contagion, enter into 
the plan of our present study. 

b. Physical nervous contagion (communication nearly always by con- 
tact, but almost solely in consequence of a magnetic rapport, so- 
called). It may apply to different diseases, mostly those not mate- 
rially contagious, but especially to states of exhaustion, general indis- 
position and pain, and these usually in a very mild form. 

These three kinds of contagion, and the first two in particular, of 
course, in practice, come together. The third may be considered as 
comparatively unimportant in everyday practice. Nevertheless, it 
possesses for us the highest theoretic value, since from that point of 
view it constitutes the basis of sympathism in general, and of mental 
suggestion in particular. 

But, unfortunately, we are still far from understanding this basis, 
on which rest other phenomena still more recondite. Nevertheless, we 
must do what we can to obtain some sort of a conception of it. 

To this end let us look at the question on the reverse side. If dis- 
ease is transmitted by contagion, health should be transmissible in the 
same way. In truth, both express only a relation : they are not 
things, only states. Health represents harmony of the functions, 
these being in equilibrium with the influences of the world without. 
Disease means the opposite of this : it is dysharmony of the functions, 
these not sufficiently withstanding the influences of the environment. 
If this be so, then health must be, so to speak, more contagious by 
bodily contact than is disease, being more expansive, in that it re-acts 
better outward. Only it must not be forgotten that we are looking 
at things from the physical, the dynamic standing-point. 

Now, taking this point of view, that is what we actually see. Apart 
from material and psychic nervous contagion, a person that enjoys 
health and strength gives more of good than a person weak and 
sickly gives of ill. What they call animal magnetism, 1 so far as it is 
physical action, is nothing but a contagion of health and of force. 
And, on the whole, the one that is magnetized gains more than is lost 
by the one that magnetizes. Here the analogy with the loadstone is 
perfect, and it is pretty evident in the phenomena of attraction, of 
specific {sfie'cifie'e) affinity, and action from a distance. 

1 We shall not dispute about words. The word "electricity" (rfktKTpov, amber) 
has no more to do with the batteries and dynamos of to-day than the word " magnet- 
ism" with certain physiological actions — rather less. But all words change their 
meaning with the march of progress, and of this we need not complain. 


And if magnetic action in general may be considered as contagion, 
mental suggestion is contagion also, in a still more striking way. 

Bodies when brought together tend to equilibrium of their molecular 
motions. That is an intelligible law, consistent with all our knowledge, 
and easily verified in sundry classes of phenomena. Why should 
organic bodies not come under it, seeing they are far more active, far 
more expansive centers of force than dead matter ? In fact, among 
these molecular movements produced, that is, transformed within the 
organism, there are some with respect to which doubt is impossible. 
Such is heat ; electricity also, though less evidently. These two 
forces, i. e., these two kinds of molecular motion, cannot be circum- 
scribed by any superficies. Heat and electricity are ever escaping at 
every point, and it were foolish to suppose that though they re-act 
upon the ambient atmosphere, they shun other organic bodies and are 
indifferent for them. 

Now, animal heat and animal electricity, themselves alone, suffice 
to account for very many magnetic phenomena. Their weakness, 
physically, has long deceived us. People have thought that to pro- 
duce a physiological effect there must be actual fire, or electric bat- 
teries contracting the muscles. But the warmth of the hand is much 
more effective than a blaze, and metalloscopy, the action of the mag- 
net and of very weak electric currents, much more effective than that 
of strong currents. The more like a remedy is to the normal agencies 
of the organism, the better it is. And, plainly, nothing more resem- 
bles the internal currents that keep up the harmony of the functions 
than those very currents themselves in a like organism, but one in 
better equilibrium. On the other hand, we should be surprised were 
the presence of a living body, /. <?., of a complexus of vibrations and 
currents, to have no influence upon another like complexus. A matter 
less clear, in the present state of our knowledge, is this specific affinity 
of certain vibrations of certain organs for those organs only, the 
transmission from a nerve to a like nerve in another body. But that 
is chargeable only to our ignorance. Then, in two pianofortes that 
stand side by side, do not two like strings act in the same way ? And 
when two wires lie side by side and an electric current is passed over 
one, is not a like current, in the reverse direction, produced in the 
other by induction, whereas you see nothing of the kind in a rod of 
wood or of glass? Thus, there is an affinity. of nature, and there 
exists no reason why a nerve that is disordered in its molecular state 
should not act by induction mainly upon a like nerve. 

Not to enter upon these questions of elective sympathism of parts, 
it is plain, as all organic changes may be reduced to changes plus or 
minus, that the energy whose intensity is normal, acting upon several 
associated parts, whereof some have an excess and others a lack of 
energy, will tend to equalize their tensions — that is, to restore their 


equilibrium ; and inversely, an association of unequal energies will 
produce a like break-up of equilibrium in a like association. 

" Every living being (says Jussieu, in his interesting report upon 
mesmerism) is a true electric body, constantly impregnated by this 
active principle, but not always in the same proportion. Some have 
more of it, others less. . . . Hence we see why by some it must 
be given out, and taken in or eagerly imbibed by others ; that near- 
ness to the one in which it abounds is of advantage to the one in 
which it is deficient. The sleeping of a child with an aged person is 
good for the latter, bad for the former. Plants, when brought to- 
gether in a seed-plot, are strong and healthy ; but in the neighbor- 
hood of a large tree they wither and perish." 

The latter fact has been confirmed by recent researches, and it is 
certain that Jussieu judged it aright when he attributed the effects 
mentioned to absorption of electricity. But what he says of electric- 
ity applies equally to all molecular motions and to all organic states, 
though this influence may not be visible save after manifold trans- 
formations, due to the influences of the media. 

Is the fact of physiological transmission between a child and an 
aged person empirically ascertained ? Hitherto modern science has 
not concerned itself with these questions ; but science in former 
times looked on the fact as quite natural, and it has a place in popular 
beliefs. I have heard of many instances of cure, particularly of 
rheumatic complaints, effected solely by contact with young and 
healthy persons, or even with young and healthy animals. In one 
case, too extraordinary to be quoted as evidence, fowls served as the 
remedy, and they died after curing the patient ! I cite this merely to 
direct the attention of observers upon a fact of everyday occurrence 
in rural districts ; and physicians are perhaps in the wrong when they 
treat such stories with contempt. Facts of the kind are found in the 
history of Hungary. I find the following in Cabanis : 

" In general, the emanations of young, vigorous animals are benefi- 
cial ; consequently they produce agreeable impressions, more or less 
distinctly noticed. Hence the instinctive attraction whereby we are 
drawn to them, and which gives us to feel an organic pleasure in see- 
ing them, being near them, even before any thought of a relation of 
affection or of utility intervenes. The air of stables that contain 
cows and horses, if they are kept clean, is both agreeable and whole- 
some ; it is even believed — and the opinion is not altogether without 
foundation — that in certain diseases this air may be employed as a 
remedy and contribute to the cure. Montaigne tells that a physi- 
cian of Toulouse, having met him in the house of an aged cacochy- 
mic patient whose health he was caring for, being struck with the 
young man's hearty, vigorous looks (for the philosopher was then 
hardly twenty years old) bade his patient keep around him persons of 
that age, whom he deemed to be no less of service in re-animating 
the old man than in cheering him. The ancients knew how useful it 
is for languid age and for patients exhausted by the pleasures of love 


to live in an atmosphere filled with the restorative emanations given 
out by bodies young and full of vigor. We see in the third book of 
Kings 1 that David lay with comely damsels to warm him and to get 
back a little strength. According to Galen, 3 Greek doctors had long 
recognized in the treatment of sundry consumptions, the advantage 
of making the patients take nourishment from the breasts of young, 
healthy nurses ; and experience had taught them that the effect is not 
the same when the milk is given after being caught in a vessel. Cappivac- 
cius saved the heir of a great house in Italy, fallen into marasmus, 
by making him lie betwixt two vigorous young girls. Forestus tells 
how a young Pole was cured of marasmus by spending the days and 
nights with a nurse of twenty years ; and the effect of the remedy 
was so prompt that soon there was reason to fear that the convales- 
cent would again lose his strength with the person that had restored 
it to him. Finally, to bring this subject to an end, Boerhaave used to 
tell his disciples of having seen a German prince cured by this means, 
employed in the same way which had succeeded so well for Cappivac- 
cius." 3 

" There is not a housewife but knows that it is not good for a 
child to make it sleep with an aged person, though the latter enjoy 
perfect health. In other times there existed in the mountains of 
Auvergne a custom that may well be mentioned. When any traveler 
arrived at an hostelry, feeble, sickly, or benumbed by cold, they 
asked him whether he wished a warmed or a brasiered bed; naturally 
his answer would be : ' I want a good warm bed.' When about to 
get into the bed he would be much surprised to see a chubby, hearty, 
well-complexioned fellow leave it, enveloped from head to foot in a 
clean linen shirt. 

" The next morning our man would be sure to inquire if it was the 
custom to give one a bed in which another had slept. ' Sir, you 
asked that your bed should be warm, and we warmed it for you. If 
you had wished it brasiered, we would have heated it with a brasier.' 
' What difference is there between these two methods ? ' ' O sir, 
much difference ; the bed warmed by a young, strong, healthy person 
is far more restorative and strengthening.' " 4 

" When we observe," sa} r s Hufeland, " the effect produced by plac- 
ing newly-killed animals on paralyzed members, and live animals on 
parts of the body that are suffering pain, it does seem that this thera- 
peutic method ought not to be spurned." 5 

Let us enumerate the facts we have been examining : 
1. Transmission of exhaustion, of a nervous fatigue caused by any 
serious illness or the like. This transmission is rather common, 
always more or less weakened, often to the advantage of the 

1 Our author quotes the Bible according to the LXX and the Vulgate, wherein I. 
and II. Samuel are reckoned I. and II. Kings, while I. and II. Kings (as reckoned 
in the Protestant canon) are III. and IV. Kings. — Translator. 

8 " Methodus Medendi," lib. iii., cap. 12. 

3 Cabanis, " Rapports du Physique et du Moral de l'Homme," 3d ed., vol. ii., p. 
340. Paris, 181 5. 

4 Dr. Pigeaire, " Puissance de l'Electricite Animale," p. 231. Paris, 1839. 

6 Hufeland, " Die Kunst das Menschliche Leben zu Verlangern," p. 7. Jena, 1798, 


2. Transmission of health and strength, regulative action of a well 
equilibrated organism upon another organism that is not well equili- 
brated. This action is still more common, and takes place sometimes 
at the expense of the transmitter. 

3. Weak transmission of pain and other like symptoms, which ena- 
bles one to appreciate the state of the patient, sometimes through an 
exceptional sensibility of touch and smell, sometimes by analogous 
sympathic sensations in analogous organs. 

4. Strong transmission of pain and other pathologic symptoms, 
communicating an analogous complaint to subjects that are moment- 
arily hyperaesthesic, so as to produce a more or less lasting pathologic 
state. This transmission is rare, except where there is material or 
psychic nervous contagion. 



COME we now to the fifth group — transmission of feelings and 
emotive states generally. These kinds of transmission are rather 
common, but they are seldom produced by simple " influence," in the 
electro-technic sense of the word. In most cases the ordinary sense- 
perceptions, those of sight and hearing, aid the direct communication 
with their automatic inductions, more or less unconscious. We know 
how easy it is to divine the mental state of a person we know from 
the expression of his face and the tone of his voice. 

As direct transmission alone is what interests us just now, we will 
examine particularly instances where other influences are more or less 
thoroughly eliminated. 

In the following case the influence of imagination is not excluded, 
but there is little probability that there was any. " One day," says 
Lafontaine, the man whose experimental lectures at Manchester sug- 
gested to Braid the first thought of his discoveries — 

" One day, in magnetizing a friend of mine, Mr. Devienne, a painter, 
I obtained a result of a kind to show the uncertainty of the existence 
and communication of the vital fluid. Mr. Devienne was suffering 
from a headache that prevented him from working, and he suggested 
that I should remove it. I agreed, but on the condition that he should 
give me a glass of Bordeaux wine, for I was exhausted and ready to 
drop from fatigue ; I had been magnetizing all the time ever since 
the morning. He hastened to gratify my wish ; I ate a biscuit, drank 
a glass of wine, and commenced the magnetization. I directed all my 
action to the brain and the stomach, imposing hands on both organs, 
and while magnetizing I took a second glass of wine. My patient's 
eyes were shut and he was unable to open them, but he was not asleep. 


After an hour's magnetizing the headache was gone entirely, but my 
friend's gayety was delightful ; he talked incoherently as if he had 
been drinking. I promptly took him out of the magnetic state, and, 
to my great astonishment, the effect remained ; Mr. Devienne was 
quite drunk, he could hardly stand. He had taken nothing, and I 
had drunk only two glasses of wine, of which I felt no effect. My 
fluid, therefore, had become charged with the spirituous parts con- 
tained in the wine, and had transmitted them to the patient, leaving no 
trace of them in me." 

Alongside this narrative I also set an exclamation point some years 
since. To-day the fact does not seem to me impossible. The case is 
an interesting one in that the action of the alcohol was transmitted 
directly without producing any marked effect on the magnetizer. 

" Since then (continues Mr. Lafontaine) I have many a time in my 
own practice and in that of other magnetizers come upon this fact of 
the transmission of physical sensations. I have also seen transmis- 
sions of moral sensations {sensations ?norales) ; the patient would be- 
come downcast or joyous, just as he became a sufferer if the magne- 
tizer was indisposed or preoccupied. It was not even essential that 
the patients should be endormed to experience these different physical 
and moral effects, it sufficed if they were powerfully magnetized ; 
nevertheless, it must be understood that these were rare instances, 
very rare indeed, and they were developed only in the case of ex- 
ceptional individuals." x 

I would observe that in the case of Mr. Devienne transmission took 
place in a state intermediate between sleep and waking. Now, it will 
be remembered how in the case of Mrs. M., who discerned the moral 
state 2 of persons around her, this phenomenon manifested itself always 
at the moment of awaking. Nevertheless, somnambulism being a 
highly variable, a highly elastic state, the conditions of monoideism 
may be realized therein momentaneously, and then the same phe- 
nomenon may occur. 

Baragnon gives a case in all respects like the foregoing, and in 
which the subject was in perfect somnambulism. 

" On leaving the table after a dinner at which I had become a little 
heated [with wine], I was invited to magnetize a young person who 
was passing the evening at the same party. I brought about sleep 
with singular energy of action. This I attributed to my excitement, 
though that seemed to me to be very slight. I was still more 
astonished to discover in the magnetized person, when she was in the 
somnambulic state, the most unmistakable signs of intoxication. No 
one guessed the cause, as I seemed perfectly sober ; but, surprised as 

1 Ch. Lafontaine, " Memoires d'un Magnetiseur," vol. i., p. 96. Paris, 1S66. 

s I doubt whether " moral state " expresses the meaning of dtat moral. But let the 
reader attach the same meaning to "moral" in this phrase that it bears in " moral 
courage." The word is used as the antonym of "physical." " Moral state " here 
means the thoughts, sensations, emotions, etc , preseat in one's mind at a given 
moment. — Translator. 


I was myself, I explained this wonderful effect of transmission, pro- 
ducing intoxication in a delicate woman, who was incomparably more 
sensitive than a man could be to the effects of spirituous liquor." ' 

Here, then, is another case of involuntary transmission, with 
apparent amplification due to the sensibility of the subject. But it is 
probable that in these cases psychic contagion played a certain part ; 
in other words, that the subject thought to herself that she was deal- 
ing with an intoxicated man, judging by some symptoms more or less 
faint, and that in a moment of monoideism this idea was realized in 
herself by ideoplasty. 

" Transmission of sensations (says the same author) extends over 
the two beings through a general and sympathic harmony. The 
moral impressions of vexation, anger, joy, will be perceptible to the 
second party as physical re-action, if they affect the first party. This 
organism, wholly controlled in body and mind, will note far better than 
I who am in control, the slightest differences in opinion of the persons 
around me with regard to myself and my experiments and to mag- 
netism. Is this so because, receiving one after another all my sensa- 
tions, she analyzes them better than I could do, in the recollectedness * 
which this demi-separation from matter always procures for her ? " 

To say nothing of the " separation from matter," which is only a 
phrase, we can understand why the subject should perceive relatively 
better, and that for two reasons : first, because the subject is hyper- 
cesthesic ; and secondly, because the subject is isolated. The subject 
is hypemsthesic, that is to say, an excitant insufficient for the mag- 
netizer may be overpowering to the subject. There is no real ampli- 
fication in nervous transmission, as there is none in any other sort 
of transmission ; but sometimes there is apparent amplification, as 
for instance in the case last cited of transmitted intoxication. It 
is as though we were to transfer a burden that we can bear very 
easily, to the shoulders of another person who is too weak to bear it. 
The subject is isolated, that is, his mind is not distracted ; he per- 
ceives better whatever is in rapport with the sphere of his occupa- 
tion for the moment, and he takes in better than we do the meaning 
of a tone of voice, of a laugh, of a word that escapes from the lips of 
one in the company. He need not " analyze " his sensations, it is 
enough that he is under the action of associations based on unconscious 

1 P. Baragnon, " Etude de Magnetisme Animal sous le point de vue d'une exacte 
Pratique," p. 136. Paris, Toulouse, 1855. 

2 Recueillement. Webster gives to the word "recollection" as its fourth meaning 
a sense very nearly the same as that of the French word, but he marks it " rare." 
The term comes from the theology of the Mystics and of writers on the " spiritual, 
life," and with them means a state of abstraction of the faculties of the soul from alL 
created things and their concentration upon the objects of religious contemplation. — 


Baragnon, I am aware, would object that the subject being isolated 
cannot hear " strangers." ' But the phenomenon is a complex one. 
The subject hears only his magnetizer, that is to say, answers the 
questions of his magnetizer only, and it may be said that he does not 
really hear, in the proper sense of the word. But it is a mistake to 
suppose that extrane auditory sensations are totally inactive. They 
enter the brain, and then results a phenomenon that I may call latent 
hearing ; impressions entering thus (I do not say perceived) form 
associations as all other impressions do, combine together, and give 
resultants that may at a given moment make their appearance amid 
other and more intense states. 

If lucidity (I do not say clairvoyance, but lucidity as the faculty of 
reflecting), 11 the lucidity that belongs to active somnambulism, must 
be regarded as unconscious because of the total forgetfulness on 
awaking, 3 then the latent sensations that are not perceived in som- 
nambulism, but which enter the brain and there produce an action in 
all respects resembling the habitual actions, though unaccompanied 
by reflex acts ; these actions, I say, must be regarded as a second grade 
of unconsciousness. Below consciousness are even several strata of un- 

This is proved by a long series of facts, and I go so far even as to 
say that hypnotic phenomena in general would be more or less incom- 
prehensible without this graduation of the intelligence. Let it for 
the time being suffice that we derive from these reflections a practical 
lesson, to wit : 

Whoever would experiment to any purpose must always con- 
sider the endormed subject — even in the state of profound aideia, and 
despite all ordinary evidences of total deafness or blindness — as though 

And " beware of suggestion ! " This counsel of Mr. Bernheim 
ought to be writ in big letters on the walls of all hypnotic laborato- 
ries. Mr. Bernheim, however, does not believe — at least did not yet 
believe in mental suggestion when he wrote his treatise. Scientific 
hypnotizers little think that when they experiment on a highly sensi- 
tive subject they inculcate into him their theories, their knowledge 
(connaissances), their fears, even their guesses, and that thus they are 
tricking themselves while they think they are making discoveries. 

1 For the somnambule strangers are all persons with whom he is not " in rapport." 
In this translation the word extrane will be used to express the French adjective 
stranger, as a technical term in magnetism. — Translator. 

2 Rtfle'chir. This ambiguous word seems to be used here in the sense of ' ' giving 
back" (after the manner of a mirror) ; not in the sense of " considering," "ponder- 
ing." — Translator. 

3 We have no other criterion for determining whether a thought or an action was 
unconscious or not, save the possibility of recollecting a few minutes after. It is vain 
to look for any other. 


Phenomena are summoned as the exorcists of Loudun summoned the 
devil. So, then, beware also of mental suggestion ! 

Mr. Baragnon, who was an excellent practitioner and often a very 
clear-sighted observer, himself points out certain illusions of this 
kind, and we will quote his remarks presently, when we treat of trans- 
mission in detail. 

A state very favorable to transmission of feelings and emotions is 
also easily produced in the hypotaxic phase — that is, in the state 
which results from passive concentration of the attention before 
hypnosis, properly so-called, makes it appearance. So this, too, is a 
state intermediate between sleep and waking. It is often brought 
about in persons who, while holding their hands upon a table, wait 
patiently for it to begin tipping. Again, people amuse themselves in 
company by putting to the " spirit " (/'. <?., to the medium's uncon- 
scious) questions touching the psychic state of those who are present, 
and thus are discovered not only the good or bad humor, the fears, the 
cares, the trustfulness or the incredulity of those who are in the com- 
pany, but also their inclinations, their sympathies, their antipathies. 

This phenomenon was very common in the possessed and the 
demoniacs of past times, and of course was then explained by the 
intervention of the devil. Here are some instances from the history 
of the nervous epidemic of the Shakers [Trembleurs) of the Cevennes 
— an epidemic that broke out among the Protestant fanatics in that 
mountain region of France after the revocation of the Edict of 

a. " Two boys in ecstasy discerned down to the smallest circum- 
stances what John Cavelier had in his mind. It was just these facts 
that won him for the revolutionary cause, and, as we know, John 
Cavelier became thereafter the principal leader of the Shakers. 

b. "A crisiac 1 discovers that a man present in the assembly has 
betrayed them for a sum of money. He goes straight to the culprit 
and indicates that he has poison hid in the sleeve of his jacket. All 
this proved to be true; ' I was there,' adds the person who tells the 
story, ' and I saw it all.' 

c. " Another crisiac discovers in the midst of a meeting of 400 or 500 
Protestants, two spies, who confess their crime. His name was Clary, 
and to prove the truth of what he had said, he offered to go through 
the ordeal of fire, and in fact did. Thus he gave proof of insensibility 
after giving proof of hyperesthesia." 2 

" As for the Convulsionaries of Saint-Medard (victims of another 
nervous epidemic appearing about the year 1770, among the Jan- 
senists, at the grave of Deacon Paris), this is what is said of them by 
Mr. Poncet, one of the ablest writers on their side (Poncet was so 
moderate in his assertions that even his opponents said he wrote pro 
and contra the Convulsionaries) : ' You would have much less difficulty,' 

1 Crisiaque (from crisis), one that is in the magnetic or hypnotic crisis, or in som- 
nambulism, etc. 

9 " Theatre Sacre des Cevennes," pp. 38, 45. 


he says, in replying to the author of ' Nouvelles Observations,' ' had 
you witnessed the facts ; if being in the company of a Convulsionary, 
he had told you the most secret thoughts of your heart ; if he had 
warned you against some serious mis-step and you had taken it ; if he 
had pointed out to you just the moment for electing the better part, 
and you had preferred a less suitable course : if this thing and other 
things equally well defined in detail, had happened to yourself, you 
would have been upset and could not have refrained from acknowl- 
edging that such warning came from God.' The author of ' Lettres d'un 
Ecclesiastique de Province,' whose work bears the unquestionable 
stamp of truth, also declares that ' there are innumerable instances of 
Convulsionaries discovering in fullest detail the secrets of hearts.' In 
a writing entitled ' Coups d'ceil sur les Convulsionnaires ' (p. 8), we read 
that in many crisiacs the supernatural and the divine are manifested 
by indubitable signs ; among these signs is matiifestation again and 
again of the secret conscience. So we find in the heart of Paris, among 
cultivated theologians, 30 years after the scenes in the C6vennes, the 
selfsame marvels that had before been attested by uneducated peas- 
ants ; and these Jansenist theologians assuredly did not seek to liken 
themselves to persons possessed, or to Protestants, heretics." 1 

In the facts just cited, transmission of thoughts is blended with 
transmission of feelings ; the latter is by far the more common. 

A case similarly complicated was observed by Charpignon. He 
was attending a married lady and encountered sundry remarkable 
phenomena : 

" The lady's husband, at first unbelieving, took so to heart the 
extraordinary phenomena he witnessed that he became morose. He 
now thought only about the great questions of man's destiny, and 
evidently having a tendency to melancholia, he fell into a state of 
profound excitation, and even thought of blowing out his brains, the 
more quickly to attain full knowledge of things. He had sense 
enough, however, to conceal from his wife and family the thoughts 
that possessed him ; he even retired to another apartment. 

" All this time the thoughts of the somnambule reflected the mental 
troubles of her husband. Excitation followed depression, and she 
suddenly exclaimed, 'Yes, if I had a pistol I'd blow my brains out ! ' 
The husband having entered on hearing the cries of distress, 'Listen,' 
said the somnambule to him ; ' you must live, and you have been 
cowardly enough to wish to die.' " The author adds the following 
reflections : " Serious worry or deep grief may have the same dis- 
astrous results as a disease. The patient feels the sufferings of the 
magnetizer with all the more pain as he knows not to whom to attribute 
the frightful overturning that oppresses him."' 

It is to be remarked that in this case it was not the magnetizer, but 
a third person, that was the cause of the trouble — a third person united 

1 Bertrand, " Du Magnetisme Animal," p. 436. 

* Le bouleversement affreux qui Vopprime. Dr. Ochorowicz gives no foot-note 
reference to show where the passage is to be found ; and though the whole is en- 
closed between quotation marks by him, some of the remarks, for instance, " The 
author adds the following reflections, * would seem to be his own. — Translator. 


only to the somnambule by the ties of sympathy and of life-associa- 
tion. On this point Deleuze says : 

" The action of one individual's thought upon another is still an 
inexplicable phenomenon, but our thoughts are communicated by 
speech and by gesture — that is, by sound and light. How know we 
but that the modifications of our soul may be made sensible by other 
•means ? Whence the feeling inherent in human nature, that makes us 
wish that an absent friend shall think of us? Magnetism gives to 
this wish a new motive ; even explains to us how he who is thinking 
of another and for his good, acts upon him ; and how, rapport once 
set up, whether by affections and habitudes, or by physical means, there 
may exist communication between two beings that are compelled to 
lire apart from each other. And again, must we not seek in a like 
principle for the origin of the opinion diffused through all peoples, 
that wishes have an influence on the health, the well-being of those 
who are the objects of them ; as also for the origin of the opinion so 
dear to sensitive souls, which leads children to desire and to receive 
their father's blessing? I do not want to urge these thoughts too far; 
I hold that though they please the imagination and the heart, and 
though they account for many of our inclinations, they are not suffi- 
ciently proven to be proposed to the reason. I will simply remark 
that philosophy would gain a good deal could we reduce under natu- 
ral and physical laws, facts that have the appearance of the marvel- 
ous, and which, nevertheless, are attested by enlightened men. It is 
not the belief in these facts, but the consequences we draw from 
them, that are the cause of superstition. Say what you will, you 
never will persuade those who are convinced of the reality of these 
phenomena, whether by experience or by trustworthy testimony, that 
they are dupes of an illusion. Compel them to keep silence for fear 
of ridicule, and they will be none the less ready to attribute these 
things to a supernatural cause ; they will then look on the principles 
of the sciences and on those who measure everything by those princi- 
ples, as a system and as men who see only the rind of things. Better 
were it to bring all the wonder phenomena within the physical order, 
and to distinguish clearly what truth they may contain from what is 
actually inadmissible." 1 

These very just remarks may well give matter for reflection to 
those who understand one thing only — the inviolability of accepted 
truths. As for Deleuze's suppositions with regard to popular opin- 
ions, they are equally just in principle. 

I venture to go further, and to say that the human mind is too little 
inventive to originate any prejudice 2 whatever, with no empiric basis. 
The question simply is, where does the basis end and where is the 
beginning of the complementary imagination and of the errors that 
come from our forgetting the origin of it all ? But as for the practi- 
cal importance of these real facts, it can by no means satisfy the 

1 Deleuze, " Histoire Critique," etc., vol. ii., p. 327. Paris, 1813. 

2 The word is us"ed here in its etymological sense — a judgment formed before know- 
ledge is had. Prajudicium — forejudgment. Just above I have rendered prdjuge's, 
" popular opinions."— 7'ranslator. 


aspirations of " sensitive souls." The facts of unconscious commu- 
nication, which may be frequent enough, are quite lost in the torrent 
of normal impressions and associations ; and the facts of definite, 
experimental communication are so rare that they cannot have any 
practical value till we shall discover all the precise conditions of their 
physiological manifestation. 

But we return to the facts. One must never be troubled about ap- 
plications when there is question of a new theoretic truth. Let us 
accumulate facts in order to frame a sound theory ; the application 
will come of itself. Meanwhile this truth embarrasses us sometimes. 

" It has happened often to me (writes the Count de Maricourt) to 
be flustered and embarrassed by the clairvoyance of somnambules in 
perceiving impressions or divining feelings that I should have wished 
hidden from them." 

I do not question the fact, but the adverb " often " is perhaps too 
strong in this passage. 

I might quote several facts of the same kind ; but because of 
their personal and complicated character it were difficult to tell the 
tale without entering upon many explanatory details that would over- 
load our study and perhaps add nothing that would be convincing to 
the unbeliever. 

This sort of facts one must observe for himself and keep for his 
own instruction. It .is not to be supposed that a " clairvoyant " som- 
nambule is all the time discovering or reproducing your sensations. 
In the first place, the somnambules that discover them are rare, and 
they cannot do this thing every day. As with all transmission phe- 
nomena, there are moments — quarter hours at most — during which 
transmission takes place. 

This is true particularly of clear, experimental transmissions and of 
detailed sensations. We are already familiar with some of these facts, as 
observed in Mrs. M. and Mrs. B. Let us now look at observations 
made by other experimenters. We begin with some remarks from 
Baragnon : 

" Before devoting oneself to the study of the moral and mysterious 
union that is formed by the nerve-fluid between two beings, it is well 
to apply oneself to the observation of facts which disclose a no less 
abnormal and miraculous closeness of relation (intimite') between two 

" Profoundly attached to the physical facts, because I believe it is 
they that will save magnetism from the destruction that time works, 
till the minds of men are opened to it [Baragnon wrote in 1853], I 
see in the fact of the transmission of sensation a new lever against 

" What is this intimate communion of two natures so that the slight- 
est pains, the most diverse physical impressions, being felt by the one 
are echoed by the other . . * by the other, whose senses are in 


abeyance, whose means of perception are effaced ? [This effacement 
is only relative.] We cannot explain such facts ; they are found to 
exist, and that is all. If the magnetizer feels an impression, that 
instant the somnambule feels a like commotion. If, for instance, 
you prick the operator's arm so as to cause him pain, the subject will 
show signs of pain, and will always tell correctly the part that was 
hurt, whether by burning, or by pricking, or by a blow. 

" If the magnetizer is sufficiently stoical to withstand every painful 
impression, the subject feels nothing or next to nothing. So, as re- 
gards smell and taste. If I find the odor of ammonia, ether, or any 
other smell, the endormed person will name the odor, for he, in fact, 
will sense it too. Still, this is a fact that must not be confounded with 

That is a just remark. There are subjects that take the sensations 
of the operator without being influenced by his thoughts, and in- 
versely ; and with the same subject one of the two phenomena may 
show itself without the other. Sensations are generally transmitted 
in a monoideic state, in which imitaticm of movements exists also, while 
transmission of thoughts seems to require a monoideism a little more 
passive and, at the same time, a little more absorbed ; it is, perhaps, 
a little nearer than the other to polyideism, while the state that favors 
will-transmission seems more passive still and nigher to aideism. 

The same author makes another just remark with regard to mental 
influence during experiments in general : 

" Let us say upon this point, that if we are trying tests of insensi- 
bility upon the magnetized person, and while we are making burns 
(opfrons brulures), suppose we feel some impression of what we are 
doing — a feeling of repugnance and dislike for committing such cruel- 
ties — the patient, in virtue of the transmission of sensation, will shud- 
der, too, not from pain, for there is none, but because of the senti- 
ment of pain in us. From this one can judge whether our advice, so 
often repeated, to keep calm and cool, is of much importance. The 
re-action of the magnetizer on the subject, in these conditions, is the 
prime source of the cure, as in the opposite state it is the mainspring 
of the disturbing principle" (p. 134). 

A very just remark. At the time (1845) a sharp controversy was 
proceeding in journals devoted to magnetism, upon experiments in 
insensibility, in particular between Mr. Lafontaine, who gave public 
exhibitions of such experiments, and Mr. Brice de Beauregard, who 
held them to be infamous, among other reasons, because of the suffer- 
ing endured by the somnambules at awaking or afterward. Till 
lately I have been unable to understand this polemic. I have many 
a time experimented upon the insensibility of somnambules ; on many 
persons I have, with their permission, inflicted all manner of seeming 
tortures — punctures, burning with melted wax, etc. With punctures, 
even deep punctures, I have never had the least mishap ; in two cases 
of burning, where a surface of several square centimeters was 


involved, melted wax being used in one, red-hot iron in the other, the 
process of inflammation took the usual course, but without any suffer- 
ing at all either during the sleep or after. Hence it was with great 
astonishment I learned that some magnetizers find their patients suf- 
fering more or less pain after awaking. Now I know why. After my 
first experiment, which succeeded perfectly, I felt fully assured that 
the subject could not suffer at all, and this assurance I suggested 
effectively to my subjects ; whereas operators who have begun with 
a mishap always thereafter have a fear, an emotion, an uneasiness, a 
needless compassion, which influence their subjects. Nay, more ; the 
most humane man of all magnetizers, the man morally most suscep- 
tible, namely, Deleuze, never could produce insensibility ; and yet, ac- 
cording to Esdaile, Baragnon, Lafontaine, Du Potet, and others, 
anaesthesia is one of the most constant characters of nervous sleep ! 
Deleuze, after quoting several cases of insensibility vouched for by 
physicians, says : 

"My somnambules never presented it j their sensibility was, on the 
contrary, more delicate than in the waking state ; the contact of a 
body not magnetized was disagreeable to them, and the touch of an 
extrane person gave them much annoyance. I even know for certain 
of patients falling into convulsions and awaking because of being touched 
suddenly by someone not in rapport." 1 

All this is true, but the opposite side is in the right also. 

One produces insensibility when one is sure that it will be produced. 
And so with respect to all other phenomena, symptoms, states — ac- 
count, of course, being made of the subject's hypnotic sensibility. 

" One day," says Perronet, "I fancied that a subject was fatigued 
and that the attitudes taken by him, counter to the laws of gravity, 
must exhaust his muscular strength. Straightway, at the very instant 
of this reflection — an erroneous one, no doubt — I saw his limbs relax 
and become inert and flabby ; when raised and let go, they fell like 
lifeless masses, or like the arms and legs of Policinello. . . . After 
four or five minutes, in a moment of ill humor, I had a strong will to. 
revive in the subject the properties belonging to the cataleptic state ; 
and I had the_ satisfaction of succeeding. From this experience I 
concluded that in the phenomena of catalepsy all depends on volitive 
or intuitive direction on the part of the operator, regard, however, 
being had to the subjective predisposition of the catalepsied subject." 2 

It may be remarked that Mesmer, a man of nervous, irascible tem- 
perament, and who despised somnambulism, seldom produced it, while 
he nearly always produced the convulsive crises, which he regarded as 
necessary ; that Puysegur, calm and of a kindly disposition, rarely 
produced spasms, and nearly always somnambulism ; that the force- 
ful Lafontaine produced profound and lasting states ; that if the 

1 Deleuze, " Instr. Pratique," p. 139.. 

a Perronet, "Du Magnetisme Animal," p. 15. Paris, 1884. 


credulous Billot did but obey the spontaneous divagations of his som- 
nambules, Donato, full of self-confidence, controls them like trained 
animals ; that if many magnetizers recommend the deepest stillness, 
so as not to delay the coming on of the sleep, the priest Faria and 
General Noizet brought it on by shouting " Sleep ! " ; that if some 
magnetizers fail to produce suggestions, the Nancy school acts solely 
by suggestion ; that if the regulation three states 1 exhibit themselves 
daily at the Salpetriere, that happens rarely elsewhere ; that " the 
cause that makes, unmakes," rarely, however, anywhere save at the 

It is as with new remedies, which act efficaciously only while they 
are the fashion — " Hurry up, for it is curing folks now ! " 

But, then, is it all illusion, and does it all depend on the sensations, 
feelings, beliefs of the operators? 

No ; there is truth in all these conflicting observations ; only one 
must not generalize too much ; we must not give way to a first im- 
pression, or work ourselves into an enthusiasm for an impossible idea, 
for an observation that perhaps has no better foundation than chance 
or peculiar circumstances. 

One needs to preserve in the current of research neutrality of feeling, 
for all your rather bold guesses have an echo in the highly sensitive 
subject, and they lead you astray. Do not forget that you are not 
dealing with a comet, which does not trouble itself about your tele- 
scope, nor with a chemic combination, which, while undergoing the 
action of your reagents, is concerned no further with them. 

What would be thought of a physicist who, wishing to make a nice 
galvanometric test, should load his pockets with chunks of iron or 
with magnets ? 

Let us go back now to our sheep. Here is an observation of 
Mr. Peter Janet : 

" Mrs. B. seems to feel most of the sensations felt by the person 
that has endormed her. She believed she herself was drinking when 
that person drank. She always knew exactly the substance I put in 
my mouth, and distinguished perfectly whether I was tasting of salt, 
or pepper, or sugar." 8 

And in his last note 3 he adds the following : 

"We have noticed that the phenomenon keeps on, even though I 
be in another room. ... If, even in another chamber, I pinch 
myself strongly on the arm or the leg, she cries out and is angry be- 
cause she, too, is pinched on the arm or on the calf. Finally, my 
brother, who was present at the experiments, and who had a peculiar 
influence over her, for she confounded him with me, tried a curious 
experiment. Going into another room, he made a severe burn on his 

1 Catalepsy, somnambulism, lethargy. — Translator. 

9 P. Janet, " Note sur quelques Faits de Somnambulisme " {Bull, de la Soc. de 
Psych. Physiol, 1885, 1 fasc). 3 Revue Philosophique, No. 8, Aug., 1886. 


arm, Mrs. B. being at the time in that state of lethargic somnambulism ' 
in which she takes mental suggestions. Mrs. B. was crying out wildly, 
and I had difficulty in restraining her. She had hold of her right 
arm above the wrist, and complained of suffering greatly there. Now, 
I did not myself know exactly the spot at which my brother had in- 
tended to make the burn. // was at that part. When Mrs. B. was 
awakened, I noticed with astonishment that she still held her right 
wrist and complained of suffering greatly therein, though she knew 
not why. The next day she was still treating her arm with cold-water 
compresses, and in the evening I found a swelling and a redness, both 
very apparent, at the exact place on which my brother had made the 
burn on his arm ; but it must be remarked that during the day she 
had touched and rubbed the arm. . . . This phenomenon of com- 
munication of sensations appeared only after a long series of seances 
and at the end of one that lasted several hours ; therefore I have never 
seen it again presented with the same definiteness." 

I was not present at this experiment, but I saw the burn on Mr. J. 
Janet's arm — a large burn and one that must have been very painful. 
Similar facts have long been observed by magnetizers, for example : 

" The phenomenon of transmission of sensations from the magnet- 
izer to the magnetized (says Lafontaine) was one day manifested at 
Clarisse's. I then went down to the floor below with two persons, 
who inflicted a thousand little tortures on me — pulling my hair, tick- 
ling, pricking, and so-forth. When we went upstairs again, we were 
told that the somnambule had indicated all these sufferings in the 
order in which they had been inflicted on me. This is one of the phe- 
nomena I have seldomest come across." 2 

Among recent experiments are to be mentioned those made by the 
London Society for Psychical Research, which has done so much to 
advance the study of these delicate questions of psychology, hitherto 
entirely neglected : 

" Community of Sensations. — We come now to a question much de- 
bated and very open to discussion. We hold — and here we have the 
support of the previous experimenters — that we have often observed 
a truly remarkable community of sensations between the operator and 
his subject — a phenomenon that perhaps might more correctly be 
called transmission of sensations. This phenomenon is nearly allied 
to those with which the committee on thought-transference is con- 
cerned. But our experiments differ from those made by the latter 
committee in this, that the subject is not in his normal state, 
but is in the 'mesmeric sleep.' The experiments were conducted 
as follows : Frederic Wells (the somnambule, a young man of 
twenty years) sat in a chair with his eyes bandaged, and Mr. Smith 
stood behind him. The subject was put to sleep by Mr. Smith by the 
use of passes. Mr. Smith was then pricked or pinched pretty hard 
on different parts of the body, this operation lasting generally a 

1 "Lethargic somnambulism" is a contradiction. The state in question was one 
intermediate between aideia (lethargy) and polyideia (somnambulism) , in other words a 
monoideic state. — Note by Dr. Ochorowicz. 

5 Lafontaine, " Memoires," vol. i., p. 157. 


minute or two. Absolute silence was observed, barring the necessary- 
question, ' Do you feel anything ? ' This question was pronounced 
by Mr. Smith, for the subject seemed not to hear the other persons. 
In the first set of experiments Mr. Smith held one of the subject's 
hands, but that precaution having afterward been found useless, all 
contact between operator and subject was broken off in the subse- 
quent experiments." 

First series, January 4, 1883 : 

1. The upper part of Mr. Smith's right arm was pinched several 
times. About two minutes after, Mr. Wells began to rub the corres- 
ponding part of his body. 

2. Back of neck pinched. Same result. 

3. A blow on the calf of left leg. Same result. 

4. Lobe of left ear pinched. Same result. 

5. Back of left hand pinched. Same result. 

6. A blow on the upper part of the back. Same result. 

7. Hair pulled. Wells locates the pain in his left arm. 

8. A blow on the right shoulder. The corresponding part indicated 

9. Back of left hand pricked. Same result. 

10. Back of neck pricked. Same result. 

11. Left great toe squeezed. No action. 

12. Left ear pricked. Corresponding part indicated exactly. 

13. Back of left shoulder struck. Same result. 

14. Calf of right leg pinched. Wells touches his arm. 

15. Palm of left hand pricked. Corresponding part indicated ex- 

16. Neck below right ear pricked. Same result. 

Thus we find in 16 experiments 13 successes and 3 failures. 

In the second series of experiments, Wells's eyes were bandaged as 
before ; but, furthermore, there was a screen between him and Mr. 
Smith. For a while during the experiments Mr. Smith was in a 
neighboring room, separated from his subject by a thick curtain. 

Secend series, April 10, 1883 : 

17. Upper portion of Mr. Smith's left ear pinched. After about 
two minutes Wells exclaimed: "Who is pinching me?" and began to 
rub the corresponding part. 

18. Upper portion of left arm pinched. Wells indicates the spot 
almost immediately. 

19. Right ear pinched. -After about one minute Wells struck his 
own right ear, as though brushing away a fly, exclaiming, " Won't you 
leave me alone ? " 

20. Chin pinched. Wells indicated the place almost immediately. 

21. Hair pulled. No action. 

22. Back of neck pinched. Wells pinched the corresponding part 
soon after. 

23. Left ear pinched. Same result. 

24. Salt put in Mr. Smith's mouth. Wells exclaimed : " I don't 
like to eat wax candles" — an idea no doubt suggested to him by 
the words "wax candles" uttered in his hearing a few minutes pre- 


25. Some ground ginger given Mr. Smith. " I don't like things 
that burn. Why do you give me pepper that way ? " 

26. Some salt. "What disgusting stuff is this?" 

27. Some wormwood. " You hurt my eyes ; I do not like mus- 

(It is to be remarked that in the last two experiments the taste of 
the ginger continues, and is confounded with the new sensations.) 

28. The calf of the right leg pinched. Wells becomes angry and 
refuses to speak. At last he stretches forth the right leg violently 
and rubs the calf. 

After this experiment Wells becomes quite angry and will no longer 
answer any questions, saying that were he to answer people would 
keep on pinching him. (During this time the calf of Mr. Smith's left 
leg was continually pinched.) ' 

Thus in twenty-four experiments on touch there were twenty suc- 
cesses. Of the four checks two might have been foreseen, for trans- 
ference is seldom produced by pulling the hair. Once the response 
was not given, and once only was it false. 

The report is signed by Messrs. W. F. Barrett, Edmond Gurney, 
Frederic W. H. Myers, Henry N. Ridley, W. H. Stone, George Wyld 
and Frank Podmore. 1 

To this report it might be objected that for a good deal of the 
time the co-operation of the hearing of the subject was not excluded. 
But that objection cannot weaken the general impression made by 
the experiment ; that is fairly conclusive. Besides, other series of 
experiments were made for three years, and always gave similar 

But how is it possible for the pain of the operator not only to be 
felt by the subject, but even to be localized so exactly ? However 
extraordinary this may seem, it is not, I believe, unintelligible. 

If, in order that the transference may take place at all, there must 
be a sort of regulating; if the tonic movement of the subject's organism 
has to be brought into accord with the tonic movement proper to the 
organism of the operator — this by means of repeated touching, passes, 
etc. — the special regulating of the corresponding nerves is given in 
advance. We jnay suppose that there are differences among the 
several parts of the organ of touch, and that one part, a, accords 
better with a corresponding part, a', of another organism than with 
the parts b', c\ etc. We do not know wherein this difference consists — 
it may be very complex — but suppose there exists in the analogous 
part only one analogous character : that of a determinate resistance 
for certain currents. Now, there are found among physical phenomena 
dependences of this kind. 

Remember, first, that, as here in physiological sympathise, so in 
physical sympathism, direct contact is not necessary. A magnet will 
magnetize from a distance a piece of steel, without producing any 
1 " Proceedings of the Soc. for Psych. Res.," vol. i., part 3., July, 1883. 


perceptible action on other metals. Soft iron, too, is magnetized, but 
only for the moment. We might say that if we liken the magnetizer 
to a magnet, somnambules that feel his action slightly are comparable 
to iron, while those that are affected by it for a certain time may be 
compared to steel. We know that if a magnet undergoes a change 
in its molecular energy, its armature, at a greater or less distance, 
feels the change in the same degree. 

Then, it is known that as there are electrostatic machines that pro- 
duce electricity by direct friction, so there are others that charge 
themselves and produce electricity " by influence " — /. e., without 
contact. The comparison is not entirely exact. But substitute gal- 
vanism in place of electricity. In galvanism not only is contact not 
necessary, but no poor conductor can prevent the phenomena of in- 
duction — that is, of physical sympathism. A wire insulated as thoroughly 
as possible, and even at some distance from another wire, will produce 
in the latter a corresponding current so soon as it is itself traversed 
by a current. So inevitable is this phenomenon that it forms the 
principal obstacle to telephonic communication. If upon the same 
poles are suspended telegraph wires, though a meter or more distant, 
there will be heard strokes {coups) in the telephone at each interrup- 
tion of the telegraphic current ; and even telephonic currents them- 
selves alone, when brought together on many wires in a central 
station, get mixed by induction. 

Suppose, now, that the wires, instead of being stretched in a right 
line, are coiled as though wound on a bobbin. A bobbin having a 
certain number of coils presents greater or less resistance. 

The bobbin constitutes the essential part of a telephone. Take a 
telephone circuit, longer or shorter, uniting two stations. At each 
station are two telephones interposed in the circuit, but while the 
bobbin of telephone a has a resistance of 300 ohms, that of telephone 
b has only 3 ; so, too, telephone a' has high resistance, and telephone 
b' very low resistance. You employ as transmitter telephone a, into 
which you speak ; your words will be transmitted, and you will be 
heard distinctly at the other station, but only through receiver a! — 
receiver b' will be mute or nearly so, according to the degree of differ- 
ence in quality of the wire,- the number of coils, etc. So, too, if the 
answer is given through a' you will hear only through a. 

And yet all four telephones are on the line. 

They may also not be in contact ; the bobbins may be simply 
placed side by side, and you will obtain by induction the same result. 

I do not mean to force the analogy, which is but partial. 

The phenomenon is always comparatively much more simple in a 
complex of bobbins than in an aggregation of cells. 

The currents in the organism may not be all alike. They may even 
present a great number of differences as regards their nature, velocity, 


amplitude, intermittence, etc. But it is none the less comprehensible 
that the excitation of a certain determinate modus will be more easily 
echoed, and chiefly by an organ susceptible of like vibrations. 

Not to enter into details concerning these nerve-vibrations, of which 
we are ignorant, we may state the question thus : 

Are there electric currents in the nerves ? Yes ! Have the electric 
currents the property of self-induction at a distance despite all sorts 
of obstacles? Yes! Is this induction always palpable? No! For 
that purpose we require instruments of extreme sensibility : to wit, 
good subjects. Is there a constant relation between excitations of 
nerves and the electric currents of those nerves ? Yes ! 

Well, it is enough that a given excitation of nerve A, accompanied 
by electric change a, produce by induction a like change a' in a dis- 
tant nerve A', to make that nerve reproduce the given excitation, in 
virtue of the principle of inter-organic associations mentioned above. 

Nor is it contrary to reason to hold that this transmission, or this 
induction, may also be direct, that is, even without the intervention 
of electric currents ; the nerve-currents may equally induce them- 

Hence, there is no need of supposing a new force to make these 
phenomena comprehensible ; we have only to broaden and to subtilize 
a little the properties of known forces and the laws of re-action, which 
are probably inherent in all natural motions. 

Finally, we must not forget that precise localization is very rare. 
There are subjects that distinctly feel the pain in a corresponding 
organ, but not on the same side. It seems that in that case induction 
acts on the more sensitive side, or on the nodi minoris resistentice. 



WITH the transference of sensations we quit the region of sym- 
pathic localization. Ideas are not localized. 

Here, of course, as everywhere, there are degrees. 

Sensations of sight and hearing have less local relation with their 
organs than have sensations of touch, but they are so akin to ideas 
properly so-called that there is no use in treating them separately. If 
I transmit the sense-image of the king of diamonds while gazing at 
it or simply imagining it, there will be only a difference in the degree 
of clearness of the representation, whereas in tactile sensations, 
which we have been considering, the emotional element made a marked 



In the sphere of ideas, therefore, we shall look for a more subtile 
action, and we may expect that direct, clear transmission will be still 
rarer there. 

The reader will recall the experiments made with Mrs. D. (p. 51, seq. y 
supra), but it is to the English Society for Psychical Research in par- 
ticular that the honor belongs of having conducted a great number 
of studies of this kind, made with remarkable precision and perse- 
verance. These must be regarded not only as the starting-point in 
the study of mental suggestion, but in general as a new impulsion 
given to psychological science as a whole. There is no doubt that 
they mark a new era in modern psychology. 

In sundry of my works in the Polish language, and particularly in 
a study upon the actual state of psychology, published in 1881 in 
Mr. Ribot's Revue Philosophique, I showed the absolute necessity of 
collective work in psychology. The English Society was the first to 
undertake it, and we see what enormous strides we have made in these 
last years ! 

The results of the English Psychical Research Society upon mental 
suggestion are contained in four reports of a special committee, on 
which were Messrs. Edmond Gurney, F. W. H. Myers, F. Podmore, 
and W. F. Barrett, Professor of Physics in the Royal College of Science 
for Ireland. Experiments have also been made by Mr. Henry Sidg- 
wick and Professor Balfour Stewart. They were carried on at Buxton, 
Cambridge, Dublin, Liverpool, etc. Everywhere the result was the 
same : verification of the existence of the phenomenon. The follow- 
ing table shows the ratio of successes in the early series : 


i success in 1 ^ exp. 





1 in 


success in 52 exp. 

" 90 " 



Mean 1 in 46 

The experiments were made with playing-cards, objects of different 
kinds, names, and numbers. But the most interesting results were 
obtained with drawings. In volume i., part 3, is given a series of 
demonstrative tables. 

My experiments with drawings have been much less striking, and I 
believe that in this and in other respects there are great individual 
differences, particularly between subjects, but also between operators. 

1 " Projet d'un Congres International de Psychologic" {Rev, Phil., vol. xii., 
pp. 1-17, 1881.) 


For example, I have observed, I think, that an almost hallucinational 
image is transmitted better than an image really seen, despite the 
greater apparent distinctness in the latter case. But it is certain that 
an hallucinational mental image is more moiwideic than an image 
merely seen. There are also differences with regard to the subject ; 
some subjects are influenced most by visual images, others by mental 
sounds, others by motor images. 1 Transmission would seem to be 
appreciably helped when two persons that are able strongly to con- 
centrate their thoughts act together, and when one thinks with 
the aid of visual images and the other with the aid of the sounds of 
the same images mentally produced. 

But one fact specially worthy of attention, and one positive result 
of my experiments, is, that successes come by series — that is to say, 
there are fluctuations in the state of the subject which either help or 
hinder transmission. These series are perhaps more constant in som- 
nambulism than in the waking state, but the principle of sympathic 
impressibility is ever the same. If there is to be transmission the 
brain ought not to be too torpid (aideia), nor too distracted (polyi- 
deia), nor too absorbed in its own thoughts (active monoideia) ; it 
ought, on the contrary, to be passive, but capable of functioning with 
absorption (passive nascent monoideia). The nearer the momentary 
state comes to this limit the better is the chance of successful trans- 

But besides immediate transmission there is latent transmission, and 
retarded transmission. The subject's state may not permit direct com- 
munication (on account of the pressure of the thoughts that occupy 
him, or because of the torpor of the brain), but communication is 
effected all the same insensibly, and the idea taken in unawares 
makes its appearance unexpectedly in a subsequent experiment, or 
apart from experiments. Mr. Richet makes the highly important ob- 
servation, that transmission is made more easily from the conscious to 
the unconscious' than between two conscious states. Is it easier still 
between two unconscious states ? We are unable at the moment to 
decide the question. It may be that the transmissor state must be 
the stronger, and usually (not always) the conscious states are the 
stronger ; but perhaps also between two unconscious states, despite 
their habitual weakness, mutual sympathic adjustment is easier. 

1 Perhaps the reader will have some difficulty in understanding the terms, visual 
images, mental sounds, and motor images. Their meanings can be readily seen from 
an illustration : A sees a piece of piano music, knowing nothing at all about musical 
notation. The impression on his sensorium or brain is a purely visual image. B sees 
the same piece, but he can " read " music, and can imagine how it sounds when played 
on the piano ; that imagination is mental sound. C also reads music, and in particu- 
lar is a performer on the piano : as he reads he imagines himself playing the piece — 
*'. <?., putting in action the muscles concerned in performing on the piano. The piece 
of music impresses motor images on C's sensorium. — Translator. 


However that may be, the best conditions for such transmissions as 
we know of are these : 

On the part of the operator, the state of definite (de'clare') active 
monoideism ; 

On the part of the subject, the state of passive nascent monoideism. 

The first is akin to polyideism, the second to aideia. 

Consequently, the receiver-subject is not to reflect nor to divine, 
but to undergo, the action of the thought transmitted. It may be said 
almost without hesitation that this transmission — even when it takes 
place in a conscious state — is always effected by the unconscious 
strata of the mind as an intermediary. Hence it is that the subject 
can but seldom tell whence the transmitted thought comes to him, 
and he inclines to consider it as a spontaneous act of his own mind 
rather than as a suggestion from others. Two or even many thoughts 
may be transmitted simultaneously by two or more transmitters, but 
then they are still more subject to the influence of the individual 
medium 1 that receives them, and generally combine to produce a 
resultant, a complexus modified and accommodated to the associations 
personal to the subject. 

It is probable that most of the transmissions that take place in 
ordinary life are always unconscious, though made manifest in their 
effects. They partly account for the undoubted phenomenon of the 
history of civilization, that certain ideas, certain tendencies and aspi- 
rations become dominant in certain epochs, and that reforms and rev- 
olutions often come to the front simultaneously in countries widely 
separated from one another, and between which there are hardly any 
mutual relations. 

The first ages of Christianity, the period of the Crusades, that of 
the Renaissance, of the French Revolution, present striking examples 
in illustration of this remark. It is also worthy of note that the 
literary movement known as Romanticism had its evolution almost 
simultaneously everywhere — even Japan shared in it ; that the years 
1830-31 and 1846-48 were much alike in different countries, and so- 

There are, beyond a doubt, epidemics of ideas. But with these, as 
with the foregoing classes of transmissions, imitation has much more 
to do than direct communication, and we must not let ourselves be car- 
ried away by fanciful conjectures. Suffice it to note one element more 
to be employed for the positive explication of a certain community of 
minds — an element, by the way, hardly noticeable in the general 
mechanism of history. 

1 Milieu. This word can generally be translated "atmosphere;" it never means 
" medium " in the spiritist sense. In the present instance " individual medium" 
means the totality of psychic states, habits, psychorganic associations, etc., peculiar to 
the recipient subject. — Translator. 


When one comes to recognize the possibility of thought-transfer- 
ence, one naturally seeks traces of it even in antiquity. Rare it may 
be, yet that phenomenon cannot have escaped the attention of authors 
who have scrupulously noted extraordinary manifestations of human 
faculty. I shall be content with a few examples ordy, seeing the 
slight scientific value of these observations of the remote past. 

St. Augustin relates that while he was a Manichaean he consulted 
soothsayers. Licentius, whom he introduces in his books against 
the Academicians, reminds him of the lucidity of a certain sooth- 
sayer named Albicerius. One Flaccianus went in search of Albicerius, 
.after having planned to win an inheritance, and entertained the sooth- 
sayer with the intent to make him reveal this secret design, that so he 
might judge of the man's skill. The soothsayer straightway told 
him the nature of the business in question; nay, more — and this 
heightened the wonderment of Flaccianus — specified to him, without 
any hesitation, the name of the inheritance — a name so barbarous and 
so difficult that Flaccu nus himself could hardly remember it. Fur- 
thermore, Albicerius divined the thoughts of those who asked him 
questions. 1 

" The remarkable thing in this narrative," says Morin, " is that the 
lucidity of the soothsayer is not at all attributed to a revelation from 
Cod or his auxiliaries, for St. Augustin, become a Christian, is re- 
counting the doings of a Manichaean." 

Similar facts are found in the lives of saints and among ecstatici of 
all religions. 

"Thus, the parish priest of Ars, who died quite recently (1876), and 
whom they already talk of canonizing, read (so they say) the 
thoughts of those who came to consult him, and by the infallible 
accuracy of his vision disconcerted the skeptics that approached him 
to test and baffle him. Joseph de Cupertius, canonized under the 
name of Saint Cupertinus, 2 famous for his many ascensions, had the 
gift of reading the thoughts of penite?its who did not dare to confess to him 
certain big sins." 

" Of course-," continues Morin, "we cannot accept, without verifica- 
tion, all these wonderful tales. It is a pity they were not subjected 
to strict and judicious critical tests. But in examining facts like 
these we may draw comparisons that will throw some light on a 
subject of much difficulty." 

Thanks to one of those vulgar errors imposed upon mankind by 

1 Augustini "Contra Academicos," lib. i., cap. 6, Nos. 17,18; Abbe Flottes, 
"Etudes sur Saint Augustin," p. 19 et seq. ; A. S. Morin, " Les Lucides d'autre- 
fois" (Union Magnit., p. 640, 1867). 

2 The name Joseph de Cupertius has a suspicious look ; and of a certainty no 
worthy was ever canonized " under the name of Saint Cupertinus." In the original 
the whole paragraph is printed in small type and stands between quotation marks, 
but no author is named. — Translator. 


fate, 1 some almost certain proofs of thought-transference were col- 
lected in the seventeenth century. I speak of the belief in the exist- 
ence of demons and their incarnation in the bodies of certain un- 
fortunates. This forejudgment, like all others, is not altogether 
groundless ; the facts upon which it originally stood were real facts. 
It was the interpretation of them alone that was erroneous, and that 
showed a deplorable ignorance. The eccentricity of a terrible dis- 
ease, which to-day no longer frightens us, thanks particularly to the 
celebrated researches of Mr. Charcot, and which often makes its 
appearance amid the favoring conditions of great hypnotic sensibility? 
led observers in the past to believe that a force outside of man, a 
demonic power, was required to explain these manifestations. And 
since the devil cannot take possession of a baptized body save by 
consent of its soul, these wretches were burnt to make easier for them 
the expiation of their offense. 

In this way our neuropathic heritage has been diminished, but at the 
same time we have lost a great number of excellent hypnotic subjects. 

But we must not suppose that our forefathers would proceed heed- 
lessly to condemn man or woman charged with demonolatry. On the 
contrary, one was declared to be. possessed only after a strict examina- 

A regular code fixed the conditions of the inquiry. According to 
the Ritual, the priest that was called on to exorcize was required, 
after having prepared himself by fasting, prayer and other good 
works, on leaving the altar after the mass, to take his seat, and with 
covered head inwardly to command the demon to give him a sign, and 
the demon, constrained to obey, had to reveal his name. Thus, 
according to the Ritual, the priest had to exorcise only patients that 
possessed the marvelous faculty of reading unspoken thoughts. 

1 Un pre'jugS fatal de I' humanity. 

2 " It is rational to suppose," says Mr. Paul Richer, " that the phenomena of hyp- 
notism which always depend on a disturbance of the regular functionment of the 
organism, require for their development a special predisposition which, with one 
accord, authors place in the hysteric diathesis" ("Etudes Cliniques sur l'Hystero- 
Epilepsie," p. 361. Paris, 1881). True, there is almost unanimous agreement on 
this point, but the authors are mistaken, I believe. It is not hysteria that constitutes 
a favorable ground for hypnotism, but it is hypnotic sensibility that affords a favor- 
able ground for hysteria. Maximum hypnotic sensibility may exist without hysteria. 
Hysteria is a malady that develops at a certain age, and that may either disappear or 
become much modified, while hypnotic sensibility is an innate property that is nearly 
constant and as a rule persists through life. It is a question of temperament, of physi- 
ological constitution. If hysterepilepsy appears in this favorable soil — favorable not 
only to it, but also to many another disease, cholera, for example — the hysterepilepsy 
is easily curable by " hypnotism." I cannot give here the proofs of what I assert, 
and the assertion may seem strange and rash. It is based on long experience, and 
one will perhaps not take the trouble to verify it. Meanwhile, the reader may regard 
these few lines as a simple note not related to the matter in hand, 


Of course, that was not the interpretation the exorcists gave of the 
words of the Ritual. On the contrary, they believed transmission of 
thought to be impossible ; and if nevertheless the patient answered 
the mental questions, being in an hysterepileptic paroxysm, or in the 
state of spontaneous somnambulism, that was proof that his case was 
•one not of disease, but of possession. It was believed that the devil, 
who is a spirit and an evil spirit, could discern thoughts, but that a 
person that was merely ill could not. 

Father Surin, 1 in recapitulating the proofs of possession in the case 
of the Ursuline Nuns of Loudun, presents as one of the most indis- 
putable the fact that they told the most secret thoughts. Of the many 
examples he gives of this faculty, I will quote only these two : 

"The day after my arrival (he says), there was present at the 
exorcism a man who expressed to me a desire to see whether the 
demon knows our thoughts. I bade him make an order in his heart ; 
and after he had done so, I constrained the demon to do what the 
man had ordered him. After giving me a few refusals he went to 
take from the altar the card on which is the gospel of St. John, and 
this man declared that he had in his heart ordered the demon to show 
the last gospel that had been read at the mass. 

" One of our Fathers wishing to find if it were true that the demons 
know our thoughts, gave an inward order to the demon on duty (en 
faction), and then gave another ; in short, in the space of an instant 
he gave five or six orders, and recalling them one after another, tor- 
mented the demon, saying, ' obediat ad mentem? The demon repeated 
aloud all the orders the Father had given him. He began with the 
first, then he said : ' But Monsieur does not wish.' Being at the 
seventh, he said: 'We shall see whether we shall do this, on which 
he has at last settled.' " 

Among the other witnesses that affirmed the existence of thought- 
communication on the part of the Nuns of Loudun, we must quote 
the King's brother, who signed a certificate in which he declares that 
for several reasons he dare not doubt the possession. Among his 
reasons was the fact that a nun obeyed an order given by him 
mentally, without uttering a word or making any sign. Here is the 
passage in question : 

" We, Gaston, son of France, Duke of Orleans, certify 

And having wished once more to have a perfect sign of the possession 
of these women, 2 we concerted in secret and in a low voice with 
Father Tranquille, Capuchin, to order the demon Sabulon, who then 
possessed the said Sister Claire, to go and kiss the right hand of Father 
Flyse'e, his exorcist ; the said demon obeyed strictly according to our 
desire, the which made us believe for certain that what the religious 
men laboring in the exorcisms of the said women had said to us of 
their possession is true, there being no appearance that such move- 
ments and knowledge of things secret could be attributed to human 

1 Bertrand, " Du Magnetisme," p. 321. Paris, 1826. 

2 Filles — unmarried women of any age. — Translator. 


power. Whereof wishing to render testimony to the public, we have 
granted this present attestation, which we have signed with our own 
name, and had countersigned by the Secretary of our Commands, 
House and Finances of France this nth May, 1635. 

{Signed') Gaston." 1 

Prince Gaston, then, has this title to our gratitude — his only one, 
doubtless — that he made one of the first experiments in mental sug- 

The Jesuit Surin made a good many more. He was able to declare, 
upon his conscience, that possession was a fact, and to swear before 
God and the Church that " more than two hundred times " demons had 
discovered to him " very secret things, hidden in his thoughts or 
about his person." 

This revelation it was that decided the conviction of those hapless 
nuns, when proofs were no longer to be had, the devils refusing to do 

Evidently the phenomenon of transmission was not manifested at 
all times, and it took a good deal of assiduous work on the part of 
Father Surin to obtain so imposing a lot of proofs. The exorcist — read 
magnetizer — thus acquired a personal influence over these subjects, an 
influence that prevented that of other persons from being exercised. 
The ecstaticas sometimes divined thoughts, but Father Surin must 
know beforehand what the thoughts were ; else the thing did not 

The Duke and Duchess de la Tremouille wished to repeat the 
experiment of the Duke of Orleans, only they took care not to com- 
municate in advance to the exorcist the thought they wished to have 
divined. Three long hours they waited, but the demon did not divine 
anything. The same experiment was tried by two counselors of the 
parliament : the demon could not succeed in discovering their thought. 
To account for this, a pact of silence was alleged, shutting the demon's 
mouth. 3 

But in addition to these set experiments, there was a number of 
others that succeeded. The exorcists, who had got into their heads a 
whole hierarchy of demons, and who had adopted a preconceived 
theory, accusing the handsome priest, Urban Grandier (who was loved 
platOnically by the nuns and most of his female parishioners), of hav- 
ing given up to the devil his own soul, and those of the sisters, invol- 
untarily communicated their a priori notions to the ecstaticas , who did all 
they could to confirm them. The following interrogatory may serve 
as an example of this kind of suggestion : 

" Hardly had Jane de Belciel noticed the magistrates when she 

1 " Relation de ce qui s'est passe aux Exorcismes de Loudun, ' etc. See L. Figuier, 
" Hist, du Merveilleux," vol. i.. No. 205. Paris, 1873. 
8 Figuier, op. cit., i., 218. 


fell into violent convulsions. She acted in the most extravagant 
fashion, writhing on her bed, gesticulating, uttering plaintive cries. A 
Carmelite stood at the right of the possessed : Mignon (the Canon), 
who was on the left, began his exorcisms. Here is his first dialogue 
with the demon" (that is to say, with the patient's Unconscious) : 

" ' Propter quant causarn ingressus es in corpus hujus virginis ? ' 
(Wherefore did you enter the body of this virgin ?) 

" ' Causa animositatisj answered Jane de Belciel, still a victim of 
the convulsions. (Out of animosity.) 

" ' Per quod pacttim ? ' (By what means ?) 

"' Per flores? (By flowers.) 

" ' Quales ? ' (What flowers ?) 

"'Rosas.' (Roses.) 

" ' Quis misit? ' (Who sent them ?) 

" ' Urbanus: (Urban.) 

" ' Die cognomen.' (Tell his surname.) 

" ' Grandier.' 

" ' Die qualitatem.' (Tell his station.) 

" ' Sacerdos.' (Priest.) 

" ' Cujus eeelesice ? ' (Of what church ?) 

" « Sancti Petri: >(St. Peter's.) 

" ' Quce persona attulit flores ? ' (What person brought the flowers ?) 

" ' Diabolica: (A diabolic one.) 

" It is evident that there were in this interrogatory suggestions, and 
they not mental only, and that on the other hand the examiner had 
neglected to clear up certain answers of the patient ; so the proceed- 
ings did not seem entirely correct to the magistrates present at the 

" ' It would have been well,' said the civil lieutenant, 'had the pos- 
sessed been interrogated as to the cause of the animosity of which 
she has spoken.' 

" ' I am not allowed,' answered the priest, ' to put indiscreet questions.' 

" ' But it seems to me,' the lieutenant made bold to say, ' that that 
question would not have been more indiscreet than the others — than 
that, in particular, whereby you procured the name and surname of 
Urban Grandier to be given to you.' 

" Thus, then, did the devil in the first interrogatory reveal his pres- 
ence. But such .was not always the exorcist's thought, or at least the 
£cstatica did not always divine just what he wanted her to say. From 
this resulted some amusing contradictions. Here is another inter- 
rogatory conducted by another exorcist, named Barre, in presence of 
the bailli and four physicians. 

" The mass having been performed, Barre came forward to give 
the communion and thereafter to exorcize. Holding in both hands 
the blessed sacrament, he said to the possessed : 

" l AdoraDeu??i tuum, Creatorem tuum.' (Adore thy God, thy Creator.) 

" She answered : 

" l Adoro te.' (I adore thee.) 

" The exorcist, a little taken aback by this answer, resumed his 

'' ' Quern adoras ? ' (Whom do you adore ?) 

"■'Jesus Christus,' she answered with a solecism. 

"Whereupon one of the assessors of the provost, Daniel Drouin, 
could not help saying quite aloud : 


"'There's a devil that is not grammatical.' 

" The exorcist, a little disconcerted, repeated the question, taking- 
care, however, to modify his phrase so as to bring the nominative 
case (which had just been employed amiss) into the answer. 

" ' Quis est quern adoras ? ' 

" But the possessed, conscious that she had made a slip in gram- 
mar, chose to set matters right by employing the vocative case — 
which came in no less amiss. 

" i Jesu Christe' she answered. 

"'There's bad Latin,' exclaimed several persons present, but the 
exorcist held that the answer was i Adoro te, Jesu Christe,' and the 
grammatical dispute was not carried any further." 1 

But if the devil was not quite correct in his Latin, still he was 
rather accommodating, for he recognized Jesus Christ as his master. 

Someone, perhaps, will be surprised to find these nuns speaking 
Latin, but they had some little knowledge of it, being obliged to 
explain the creed and the paternoster to the novices ; they heard 
Latin every day all around them ; and in ecstatic states the memory 
is often highly developed. Sick patients and somnambules have been 
known to pronounce several phrases in languages of which they knew 
nothing in the normal state, but which they heard spoken in their 
childhood. Finally, the transmission of thoughts was sometimes 
added to other causes. When that failed and the possessed knew 
not what reply to make to a question put in Latin, she would say 
" Deus non volo," instead of " Deus nonvult." 

When a question was asked in Greek or Hebrew, there was no 
answer. Sometimes, however, thought-communication helped in such 

Finally, there was still another phenomenon that led people to 
believe in the gift of strange tongues : the ecstaticas sometimes spoke- 
a language entirely unknown. 

It is known that now and then, particularly in spells of good 
humor, one will utter odd sorts of words, senseless combinations of 
syllables. This tendency is seen in the argot of students and children^ 
Some ecstatic and convulsive states exhibit this caprice of our auto- 
matism in a peculiar way. The ecstaticas of early Christian times also^ 
spoke unknown tongues. - 

" I have already observed (says Carre de Montgeron) that it is in 
the height of their ecstasy that many convulsionaries pronounce those 
discourses in unknown or foreign languages. I must add that they do 
not themselves understand the purport of them save at the moment, 
while they are pronouncing them, and that they remember them no 
more, or at best only in a general way, the instant their discourse is 
over." 3 

" The same phenomenon was seen among the. first Christians. St. 
Paul shows this plainly in sundry places : ' He that speaketh a 

1 Figuier, op. cit., 108. 

4 Montgeron, " Idee de l'Etat des Convulsionnaires," p. 89. 


tongue,' says he (1 Cor. xiv.), ' speaketh not to men but to God, for 
none understandeth.' Elsewhere he says in effect that these tongues 
are but signs to procure the conversion of unbelievers." (Bertrand, 325.) 

But sometimes one cannot explain the answers of the possessed, 
except by thought-transference. Here are some instances of this 
sort, taken from Lamenardiere's " Demonomanie de Loudun : " 

" Mr. Launay de Barille, who had lived in America, declared that, 
on a visit he made to Loudun, he had spoken to the nuns the language 
of certain savages in that country, and that they had answered him 
very aptly." 

We are not told what words these were. If they were, as is prob- 
able, only such expressions as " Good-day," " How do you do ? " the 
very tone of the phrase might betray the meaning. But here is a 
more detailed narrative : 

" The Bishop of Nimes having put questions in Greek and in Ger- 
man, got satisfactory answers to both. He ordered (in Greek) Sister 
Claire to lift her veil and to kiss the grille 1 at a spot he designated. 
She obeyed him, and did several other things that he desired of her. 
On this occasion it was said publicly of this prelate that he must 
needs be either an atheist or an idiot if he did not believe in posses- 

" Some physicians, too, questioned them in Greek upon the terms 
of their science — terms very difficult and known only by the learned 
in their profession ; the nuns explained them clearly. 

" Some gentlemen of Normandy certified in writing that they had 
interrogated Sister Claire de Sazilly in Turkish, Spanish and Italian, 
and that her replies were quite apt." 8 

Carre de Montgeron 3 speaks of a young lady, Dancogne, who. 
though she never had any voice, used to sing canticles in an unknown 
tongue. (I have myself observed similar facts in the state of som- 
nambulic delirium.) " But," says Montgeron, " what is more surprising 
is, that it often happens to her, in certain times of ecstasy, to under- 
stand the meaning of all that is said to her in whatever language it 
may be spoken, and to make reply in a perfectly apt way to all ; a 
multitude of .people have witnessed this." 

Bertrand justly remarks that very few cases indeed are recorded in 
which the answer is given in the same language, and in those cases 
the foreign tongue was more or less known by the patient, whereas 
in the great majority of cases the patient understands the language 
(that is to say, the thought) but does not speak it. 

Evidently it is easier to get at or divine the meaning of a phrase 
spoken with a certain intonation, than to fish out foreign words in the 

1 The grating that separates the outer reception room from the cloistered portion 
of a nunnery. — Translator. 

2 Pilet de Lamenardiere, " La Demonomanie de Loudun," etc., p. 26. 2d ed., La 
Fleche, 1634. 3 Op. cit., p. 53. 


mind of one that knows that foreign tongue, in order to reply to him 
in the same. 

"As for somnambules (says Bertrand), magnetizers are not wont to 
exercise them in giving replies in unknown languages, and I can quote 
only one fact of that kind. It was reported to me by an estimable 
man, a physician of great learning, too early taken from science and 
his friends. He had a somnambule that presented to him the most 
marvelous phenomena, and who understood him when he spoke Greek, 
Latin, or English. One day he decided to read to her a few lines in 
English. ' Do you expect me to understand your gibberish?' she 
asked. ' But,' the doctor replied, ' I spoke to you a moment ago in 
the same tongue and you understood me.' ' Then it was 5<our thought 
I understood,' answered the somnambule, ' and not your language.' " 

"August 6, 1634 (writes Lamenardiere) John Chiron, Prior of 
Maillerais, wishing to be confirmed in the belief he had in 'possession,' 
said in a low voice in the ear of Blaise de Fernairon (Canon) that he 
wished the nun to open the Missal that was by the grille, and to put 
her finger on an introit beginning with the words ' Salve, sancta 
parens.' The exorcist bade her to obey according to the intention of 
the said Sieur Chiron. She fell into strange convulsions?- and uttered 
several blasphemies, and though she had never seen the said Sieur, she 
called him Prior of Maillerais, and, after several orders reiterated for 
an hour, she took the Missal, which lay on a shelf by the grille, and 
said, ' I wish to pray to God,' and turning her eyes in another direc- 
tion, she put her finger on a large S, at the beginning of the introit of 
a Mass of the Virgin, the opening words of which are ' Salve, sancta 
parens,' which the said Prior seeing, he said that was the sign he had 
asked for." a 

"June 20, 1633, a priest of Saint-Jacques-de-Fouars, desiring to 
make proof of divination of thought, in a low voice asked the exor- 
cist to make the possessed bring five leaves of a rosebush. The 
exorcist ordered Claire de Sazilly to obey. The nun went out and 
into the garden, whence she brought first a marigold and some other 
herbs, and presented them at the grille, with much crying, saying to 
the Sieur de Morans : 'Is that, Father, what you ask? I am no devil, 
to know your intentions' Whereto he replied simply, ' Obedias ! ' 
(obey !) She went back to the garden, and, after many repeated 
orders, presented at the grille a small sprig of rosebush on which 
were six leaves. The exorcist said to her, ' Obedias punctualiter sub 
pcena maledictionis !' (obey precisely under pain of a curse !) She now 
broke off one leaf, and presented the sprig to him, saying, ' I see that 
you want only five, the other was not of the number.' The Prior was 
so content with what he saw, and so moved, that he went away with 
tears in his eyes." 3 

In the same work we find recorded many similar cases. For 
instance, Sister Claire kneels by mental order of her magnetizer 
exorcist ; she divines the day when the Chevalier de Mere last con- 
fessed, and repeats words that were heard by the exorcist alone ; and 
so on. 

1 See Mr. Gibert's experiment, p. 90, supra. 

a Pilet de Lamenardiere, " La Demonologie," etc., p. 26. 

8 Id., p. 27. 


The latter class of facts, namely, suggestion or penetration of 
thoughts, seemed impossible to Aubin (author of the " Histoire des 
Diables de Loudun " ), who was overmuch afraid lest he should be 
forced to believe in Daemonomania. He gives only one instance of 
suggestion, the one witnessed by Prince Gaston, May 10, 1635. 

Another author, Dr. Calmeil, no less scrupulous, but more impartial, 
after having seen that artificial somnambulism produced some of the 
effects for which people wanted to hold the demons answerable, adds : 
" On a hundred occasions indeed, we may believe, the energumens 
(the possessed) read the thoughts of the religious men charged with 
the duty of fighting the demons." 1 " Read the thoughts of the 
religious men, who gained a. powerful influence over them," remarks 
Figuier, "and not the thoughts of other persons." 

This remark is applicable in the majority of cases. We may, how- 
ever, recall some experiments in mental suggestion made by me upon 
Mrs. B. (magnetized by Mr. Janet), and who had not seen me while she 
was in the waking state (p. 85, supra). 

We find the same phenomenon among the prophets of the Ceven- 
nes ; so, too, among the Convulsionaries of Saint-Medard. "Add," says 
Dr. Bertrand, " that Madame Guyon, that mystic devotee, famous for 
the admiration that the virtuous Fenelon professed to have for her, 
tells in the history of her life, that often she used to read the thoughts 
of Father Lacombe, her confessor, as he read hers ; ' I saw,' she says, 
' that men might, in this life, learn the language of the angels ; little 
by little I was reduced to speaking to him only in silence.' " 

It is to be remarked that the conversations of these two pious souls 
probably were ever about the same questions, and that consequently 
the divination was not always difficult. 

Let us now turn to the somnambules : 

" Among the somnambules that I have magnetized (says Bertrand), 
I never found one that presented communication of thought in any 
high degree. Nevertheless, I can cite two facts of which I am per- 
sonally cognizant. The first is found recorded in my ' Traite du Som- 
nambulisme ' (p. 247). The case was that of my first somnambule, on 
whom I was performing the processes by which I had been accustomed 
to awaken Her, while, at the same time, I willed strongly that she 
should not awake. Instantly she had violent convulsive movements. 
' What is the matter ? ' I asked her. ' How is this ? ' she replied ; ' you 
tell me to awake, and you want me not to awake.' " 

This experiment is very conclusive, but it is rarely successful, for 
the ideorganic association formed between certain gestures and 
sleep, produces sleep by force of habit, the weak, purely mental oppos- 
ing influence notwithstanding. 

" The other instance coming under my personal observation is 
found at page 279 of the same work. A poor woman, uneducated, not 

1 Calmeil, .'iDe la Folie," vol. ii. 


able to read, could, I was told, understand in somnambulism the 
meaning of words the signification of which was unknown to her in 
the waking state ; and, in fact, she explained to me most accurately 
and most ingeniously what we were to understand by the word 
encephalon, which I proposed to her : a phenomenon which, if you do 
not wish to regard it as chance — a supposition as hard to admit, per- 
haps, as the faculty itself, that the phenomenon supposes — can only 
be explained by recognizing that this woman read in my very thoughts 
the signification of the word about which I had questioned her." 

This fact, too, is worthy of attention, and for this reason : If we 
compare the diagnostic pronouncements of somnambules recorded in 
the writings of magnetizers who themselves did not possess compe- 
petent knowledge of anatomy, with the pronouncements of somnam- 
bules directed by a physician (for example, the 35 observations of 
Dr. E. Louis de Sere), 1 we find a great difference as regards precision. 
The same is to be said of psychological and other questions. 

Unless we hold that none of the physicians that made these experi- 
ments could refrain from verbal suggestions, even while his precise 
object was to get at the truth, we must admit, here and there, trans- 
missions of thought like those we have quoted from Bertrand. 

The first person to call the attention of observers to the phenome- 
non of mental suggestion in artificial somnambulism, was the Marquis 
de Puysegur. In his writings we find a great number of facts. Here 
is how he relates his first experience, in a letter of March 8, 1784, ad- 
dressed to a member of the Harmony Society. In the first place, he 
apologizes for the enthusiasm awakened in him by his first attempts 
at magnetic treatment, begun " in play " (en plaisantanl) and which 
had surprising results. ■ Then he continues thus : 

" These trifling successes led me to try whether I might be of 
service to a peasant, a man of 23 years, who for four days had been 
confined to his bed by an attack of pneumonia. I went therefore to 
see him : it was last Tuesday, the 4th of this month, at 8 o'clock in the 
evening. The fever was growing less. After having him taken out 
of bed I magnetized him. What was my surprise to see him, after 
half a quarter of an hour, fall asleep quietly in my arms, without con- 
vulsions, without any pain. I pushed the crisis [/. e., he kept on 
magnetizing], and that produced vertigo. The man talked, speaking 
in a loud voice about his affairs [somnambulic ravings]. Judging that 
these thoughts might affect him injuriously, I sought to inspire him 
with more cheering thoughts. [The somnambulism therefore was not 
very active, and was akin to aideia and to a suggestionable state inter- 
mediate between aideia and polyideia.] To do this needed no great 
effort ; then I saw him satisfied, imagining himself to be drawing for 
a prize, dancing at a festival, etc. 

" These thoughts I encouraged in him, and so forced him to take a 
good deal of exercise in his chair, as though dancing to an air which, 
by singing it (menially), I made him repeat aloud. By this means, 
from that day on, I occasioned in the patient an abundant perspiration. 

1 " Application du Somnambulisme Magnetique au Diagnostic," etc. Paris, 1855. 


" After an hour of crisis, I quieted him [that is to say, awakened 
him], and left the chamber. A drink was given him. Having pro- 
cured for him some bread and bouillon, I made him eat that very 
evening a soup — a thing he had not been able to do for five days. He 
slept soundly the whole night [amelioration of the natural sleep is an 
almost constant phenomenon in magnetism], and the following morn- 
ing had no recollection of my visit of the evening before ; he told me of his 
bettered state of health." 

That experience was the starting-point of modern somnambulic 
magnetism. Some time after, Puysegur, always enthusiastic about his 
successes, wrote as follows to his brother concerning Vielet : 

" When he is in the magnetic state, he is no longer a simple hind 
scarcely able to phrase an ' answer, but a being I know not how to 
describe. I have no need to speak to him ; I think foment him, and he 
understands me, answers me. When anyone enters his chamber, he sees 
him if I will it j talks to him, tells him the things I will that he tell him, 
not always as I dictate them to him, but as truth requires. When he 
wishes to say more than I deem it prudent that people should hear, 
then I stay his thoughts, his phrases, in the middle of a word, and change 
his thought completely." 1 

He did not find, it seems, many somnambules of this stamp, for he 
has less to say about them in his two later writings : " Du Magne- 
tisme Animal considere dans ses rapports avec diverses Branches de 
la Physique generale," Paris, 1807 ; and " Recherches, Experiences, 
et Observations Physiologiques sur l'Homme," Paris, 181 1. But he 
laid the more stress upon the appreciation of diseases, and he still 
believed that his will was the one sole agent — plainly an exaggera- 

The fact is, one always feels the effect of a first experiment ; and 
this time a school was formed under the influence of this first im- 
pression of the master. 

It is so in our day, and I hardly find more of prudence or of 
circumspection in the writings of medical men who, after having 
sophisticated an hysteric, believe themselves competent to lay down 
physiological " laws," and to settle in accordance with their individual 
convictions the most delicate and most complicated questions. 

As for the old-time magnetizers, who spent their lives in studying 
these problems, sometimes without sufficient preparation, but at the 
same time without presumption, we do not read them nowadays ; we 
just append to their names the epithet "charlatans." Some have 
adopted a more profitable method : they glean here and there an 
observation made by some old-time magnetizer, and having sophis- 
ticated it, and, above all, put their own brand upon it, take to them- 
selves the credit of discovery. But let us proceed. 

1 Puysegur, " M6moires pour servir a l'6tablissement du Magn6tisme," pp. 22, 
29, et seq. 


Some time after Puysegur, a distinguished physician of Lyons, 
President of the Medical Society of that city, was led to investigate 
the more striking phenomena of magnetism. He was skeptical, and 
an opponent of mesmerism, but it so chanced that he was forced to 
recognize a series of facts far more extraordinary than anything 
announced by Mesmer. His researches on catalepsy, on the action 
of the magnet, of electricity and of metals, on the phenomenon known 
as "transposition of the senses," etc. ; finally, on the subject that 
engages our attention here, mark an epoch in magnetism. They are 
to-day absolutely unknown ; but as already just a century has elapsed 
since he observed certain facts, I have no doubt that some fine morn- 
ing they will tell you that a hypnotizer in Lyons or in Paris has dis- 
covered them anew, and that, thanks to his ingenuity, his authority, 
and the general ignorance of history, a new " hypnotic " school has 
sprung up. 

In the meanwhile let us note the facts that concern our subject. 
This is how Petetin 1 was led to employ magnetism for the first time: 

"The patient was sinking day by day. She had hardly two hours' 
sleep in a night ; she could take no nourishment except chicken 
broth, milk, and pounded ice. Petetin, her physician, possessed by 
the idea that the excitation of brain and nerves was caused by super- 
abundant electricity, bethought him of making very strong aspira- 
tions foment the patient's nostrils, to abstract this excess of elec- 
tricity ; but that method had no effect. Then, laying one hand on the 
forehead and the other on the epigastrium, he made another aspiration. 
Mrs. X. opened her eyes, but they were dull and fixed ; at a second 
aspiration they resumed their brightness ; a few minutes later, the fit, 
which used to last two hours, was over. At his subsequent visits the 
doctor substituted expiration for aspiration, and in eight days all the 
symptoms of this extraordinary malady had disappeared through this 
simple means, ' the effects of which,' says he, ' are as evident as the 
cause is hidden.' 

" He adds that as the cure progressed, the faculties of the cata- 
leptic patient acquired a new power. ' Not only did she foresee what 
was about to happen to her, but if one conceived a thought without 
manifesting it by speech, she was cognizant of it at once, and did what- 
ever one had the intention to bid her do, as if the decision had come of 
itself ; sometimes, however, she would ask that the mental order 
might be suspended or revoked, when the act ordered was beyond 
her strength, or if she was fatigued. ' " 2 

Petetin made upon another cataleptic, Mrs. de Saint-Paul, a great 
number of experiments, and he invited, to be witnesses of these, 

1 Dr. Petetin, " Memoire sur la Decouverte des Phenomenes que presentent laCata- 
lepsie et le Somnambulisme. " Lyons, 1787. " Electricite Animale prouvee par la 
Decouverte des Phenomenes Physiques et Moraux de la Catalepsie Hysterique." 
Paris, 1808. 

2 Foissac, "Rapports et Discussions sur le Magnetisme Animal," p. 369. Paris, 
1353. Figuier, " Hist, du Merveilleux," vol. iii., p. 292. 


several of his professional associates and other persons, as Messrs. 
Eynard, Colladon, of Geneva ; Domenjon, Dolomieu, brother of 
the naturalist, and Jacquier, administrator of the Lyons hospitals. 
Eynard, the most incredulous of them all, came one day to the lady's 
house and found her in one of her fits, alone with a nurse. He had 
with him several drawings that he had made by electricity. 1 He held 
near the epigastrium of the patient the portrait of Louis XIV., and 
asked whether she recognized it. She gave an affirmative movement 
of the head. "Is it Francis I.?" Negative sign. "Louis XV.?" 
Same response. After several other names he pronounced that of 
Louis XIV. ; she answered "Yes." Mr. Eynard having been assured 
that cataleptics are able to read the thoughts of persons in rapport 
with them, he asked her once more, in order to verify the fact, 
whether she knew the author of the drawing. Affirmative sign. He 
tried to mislead her by naming sundry persons, but she did not answer 
"Yes" till he had named himself. Say what he would about his 
being unable to draw, the patient only shrugged her shoulders ; the 
more he denied, the more strongly she showed her impatience by 
characteristic gestures. Asked at last by what means he had pro- 
duced the portrait, she pointed toward an electrical machine that 
was near her bed and which Petetin employed in treating her com- 
plaint. 2 

Soon people at Lyons talked of nothing else but the wonders of 
somnambulism, and no doubt Petetin's researches would in the end 
have won the attention of men of science, had not the Revolution 
broken out. " Nothing short of the cannon of the Revolution," says 
Figuier, " could have silenced in that town the discussions on mag- 
netism. But at the time all this hubbub subsided, in Lyons as else- 
where, not because magnetism was forgotten, but because its 
adherents were scattered." 

Petetin was forgotten, and died in 1808, without so much as print- 
ing his important treatise on "Animal Electricity, " which appeared 
some months later. The work is now very hard to find. 

The priest Faria, 3 a bold and truly original experimenter, held the 
attention of the public for a while about 1815. He is the father of the 
Suggestionists of to-day. He acted only by verbal suggestion and did 
not believe in will-transmission : thus he was in absolute opposition to 
the Voluntists of the Puysegur school. As his one purpose was to 
produce effects in public, it is not surprising that he should have 

1 Our author prints this paragraph in brevier, but without quotation marks, so 
indicating that the statements it contains are given on the authority of the writers 
named in the next foot-note. — Translator. 

2 See Petetin, " Electr. Anim.," p. 127; Foissac, "Rapports, etc.," p. 310; 
Figuier, " Hist, du Merv. ," vol. iii., p. 292. 

3 " De la Cause du Sommeil Lucide," 'etc. Paris, 1819. 


failed to obtain a phenomenon that requires long and patient research 
in seclusion. 

A third school, one more directly connected with Mesmer, was that 
of the Fiuidists, represented by the learned librarian of the Paris Jardin 
des Plantes, a most conscientious worker, cautious and reserved, whose 
principal work, the fruit of twenty-five years' observation (I do not 
mention this detail to frighten the hypnotizers of to-day), appeared 
in 1813. 1 

Deleuze, as we know already, was familiar with the phenomena of 
transmission ; he even glimpsed the benefit that might accrue to 
science from bringing into the domain of positive knowledge a great 
number of facts previously incomprehensible, and of a kind to lend 
support to vulgar errors {prejuge's). But he does not concern himself 
much with these phenomena, for two reasons : First, he wished, 
especially in this first edition, to avoid everything that could offend 
the incredulity of the academic bodies ; and then he regarded as unfit- 
ting all experiments made for curiosity' sake, i. e., whatever has not for 
its principal end the cure of diseases. But so strongly did he believe 
in the community of thoughts between themagnetizer and his subject, 
that he says with a charming simplicity: "When one wishes to ask 
anything of the somnambule, he must express his wish in words. 
Good somnambules understand what you wish without your speaking. 
But why employ that means without necessity ? It is an experiment, 
and we ought to have it made a law to deny ourselves all experi- 
ments." 2 

The reader will perhaps be surprised to see that in Deleuze's time 
this prohibition of experimentation was scrupulously respected by very 
many observers. Volumes were published upon the therapeutic appli- 
cation of magnetism, but the scientific experimental part made no 
progress. There were cures, that is all. It was only by accident,, 
therefore, that mental suggestion was observed. 

But certain magnetizers studied the question a little, and have left 
some interesting observations. I will quote all of these that have a 
right to our confidence, trying, as far as possible, to separate thought- 
transference from will-transference, which will be considered later. 

Transmission of ideas and words, or of thoughts in general, presents 
itself in several forms : 

1. Direct Experiments. — These are least numerous. To this class 
belong the experiments of Drs. Teste, Puel, Comet, Barrier, Perronet, 
and of Messrs. Lafontaine, Maricourt and Souchere. But it is, above 
all, the quite recent experiments of Professor Barrett, of the English 
Society for Psychological Research, that have revealed this phenom- 
enon to us. 

1 Deleuze, " Histoire Critique du Magnetisme Animal." Paris, 1813. 

2 Deleuze, " Instruction Pratique sur le Magnetisme Animal," p. 135. Paris, 1825, 



2. Experiments in Apparent Vision, which have been much more 
numerous, and in which thought-transference and transmission of 
recollections have been confounded with actual vision of near or dis- 
tant objects. Under this head we will cite the observations of Dr. 
Charpignon, of Messrs. Tissot, Jolly, Baragnon, Lafontaine, Robert- 
Houdin, and General Noizet. 

3. Finally, we shall have occasion to mention the fact that thought- 
transference is by accident associated with other classes of facts, 
especially in pseud-hypnotism. 

Let us begin with the experiments of the English Committee, which 
are quite recent and which were the best controlled. The reports 
upon these researches already fill a volume, and I can reproduce only 
a few instances. I will, however, give in full the report of the experi- 
ments of December 6, 1884. They were made in presence of Mr. 
Guthrie and Professor Herdman. 

Mrs. Relph, the subject, is seated, and the objects chosen for the 
experiments are concealed by a screen behind her back. The experi- 
ments take place without contact. 


1. Piece of red paper cut in the 

form of a small egg-cup 
with white egg in it. 

2. Blue paper in shape of a 


3. Red paper cut in form of a 


4. A new rasp. 


5. A wooden disc on a dark 


6. A red disc. 

7. Same object as in No. 5. 

8. Silvered paper cut in shape of 

a teapot. 

9. A yellow oblong rectangular 


10. A sovereign. 

11. Three of hearts. 

12. Five of clubs. 

13. Eight of diamonds. 

14. A card with two red crosses. 

15. No object. We think of a 
white cross on a black 


Something red ; longer than it is 

'Tis blue. 'Tis wider at top than 
in the middle, then wider 
again. 'Tis like a pitcher 
(draws figure of a pitcher). 

'Tis red. I can see only the color. 

Something shining — silver or steel 

— long and thin. 
I cannot make that out. 

'Tis red ; 'tis round and red. 

Is it something red all around ? — 

reddish yellow — something 

'Tis of bright silver, like a boiler 

— 'tis a teapot. 
It is longer than wide. 

Is it bright yellow ? — gold ? — is it 

round ? 
Is it a card with red spots? A 

tray or something like that. 
Another card, with five black 

spots ? 
A card with a good many spots? 

Red — a ten. 
Something yellow and bright. I 

don't see well. Is it a card 

with red spots ? I do not see. 
I see something white and black 

— I see two lines. 


1 commend this series to the attention of Mr. Preyer, and invite 
him to do the same thing by drawing lots. 1 

Let us now see what the magnetizers say: 

"At Tours (says Mr. Lafontaine) I had a somnambule that was 
gifted with great lucidity. Mr. Renard, steward (proviseur) of the 
college, a man strongly skeptical, came each day bringing objects care- 
fully wrapped up, and which he kept in his pockets. No sooner was 
he in rapport with Clarissa, the somnambule, than she named to him 
the object he had so carefully concealed. To prove to him that it 
was really thought-transmission and not sight, I had a mental order 
executed, that is, without my uttering a word or making any sign ; 
but concentrating my thought upon any act the performance of 
which I wished, the somnambule rose from the chair and did what I 
willed." 2 

2. " Dr. Thomas presented to Clarissa his small lancet case, asking 
her what was inside. The somnambule answered that it contained 
only three instruments, and told him where he had left the fourth." s 

3. " Sometimes Mr. Renard would fasten the doors and the shutters 
of his study, stopping the keyholes so that no one might see him ; 
then he would light a candle and write a few words, and wrap several 
papers around what he had written. He would come with an air of 
triumph, hoping, after all the precautions he had taken, that the som- 
nambule would not be able to see what he had written. But the in- 
stant he had put the paper in the girl's hand, sometimes even before he 
had taken it out of his pocket, Clarissa would tell him what he had 
written." 4 

4. " Mr. de la Souchere, educated at the Polytechnic School, an 
able chemist of Marseilles, had as a domestic servant a country 
woman in whom somnambulism and several of its noteworthy phe- 
nomena were produced with great ease. ' In magnetic somnambulism/ 
says he, ' Lazarine entered into most complete communication of 
thought with me, and so insensible was she that I used to drive needles 
into her flesh, into the roots of the nails, yet she would not suffer the 
slightest pain, nor would there be a drop of blood. [This phenome- 
non is very common ; there is produced often in somnambulism a 
notable contraction of the small vessels.] In presence of the engineer, 
Gabriel and some friends I have made the following experiments : I 
would make her drink pure water, and she would tell me it had the 
taste of whatever liquid I was thinking of — lemonade, syrup, wine, etc. 
It was proposed that I should make her drink sand. She was unable 
to divine [the order]. Then I put sand in my mouth, and straight- 
away she began to spit, saying that / was giving her sand. [Transfer- 
ence of sensation.] I was then behind her and it was impossible for 
her to see me. [A similar experiment, but still more striking, is 
quoted by the Count de Maricourt : the subject, having drank in the 

1 Mr. Preyer, professor of physiology at Jena, has criticised the researches of Mr. 
Ch. Richet, declaring that he obtained by simple chance the same results. (' ' Die 
Erklarung des Gedankenlesens nebst Beschreibung eines neuen Verfahrens zum Nach- 
weise unwillkurlicher Bewegungen." Leipsic, 1886 ) 

2 Ch. Lafontaine, " L'Art de Magnetiser," p. 98, 5th ed. Paris, 1886. 

3 Ch. Lafontaine, " Memoires d'un Magnetiseur," vol. i., p. 154. Paris, 1866. 


waking state a glass of water, under mental suggestion of a glass of 
kirschwasser, manifested all the signs of intoxication for several days, 
I would remark that when such phenomena are produced in the wak- 
ing state it is harder to do them away than when they are produced in 
somnambulism. It is phenomena of this sort that lead magnetizers to 
believe that, by magnetizing a glass of water or any other object, they 
can impregnate their " fluid " with different physical and chemical 
properties. The magnetization is of no effect in such case, for it is 
the thought that acts, and not upon the object, but upon the brain of 
the subject.] Some one sends me a book (Robinson Crusoe.) I open 
it and examine an engraving representing Robinson in a canoe. Laza- 
rine, being asked what I was doing, answered : ' You have a book ; 
you are not reading ; you are looking at a picture ; there is a boat 
and a man in it.' I bade her describe to me the furniture of a chamber 
that she did not know, and she described the articles of furniture 
precisely as I represented them to myself. I have not been able 
to see in my domestic transposition of the senses. Different objects 
would be applied over the epigastrium : if I knew what they were, 
she 7vould describe them ; if I did not know what they were, she was 
unable to name them. It is possible that, in certain cases, what has 
been accounted transposition of the senses is only transmission of 
thought." 1 

5. Dr. Teste 2 has again and again found that the somnambule can 
follow the magnetizer's thoughts. "Miss Diana," says he, "had a 
conversation with me in which I spoke only mentally." He cites, 
furthermore, an extraordinary experiment wherein mental suggestion 
appeared as an hallucination. 

"One day," he writes, "I imagined a wooden railing round about 
me, but spoke not a word. I put in the somnambulic state Miss H., 
a very nervous young person, and asked her to fetch me my books. 
Coming to where I imagined the railing to be, Miss H. halted, saying 
they had set up a railing there. 'What a singular idea,' she said, 'to 
have put a railing in this place ! ' If you take her by the hand to 
make her go beyond, her feet are riveted to the floor, the upper por- 
tion of her body alone is projected forward, and she says you make 
her stomach press against the obstacle." 

And here is a highly interesting fact recorded by Dr. Bertrand in 
one of his lectures on magnetism, reproduced by Noizet : 

6. " A magnetizer deeply imbued with mystic ideas had a somnam- 
bule who, in hrs sleep, saw nothing but angels and sprites of all kinds. 
These visions served more and more to strengthen the magnetizer's 
religious belief. As he was always quoting his somnambule's dreams 
in support of his system, another magnetizer undertook to undeceive 
him by showing to him that no somnambule has such visions as he 
told of, except so far as they existed first in the magnetizer's brain.' 
To demonstrate this assertion, he proposed to make the same som- 
nambule see all the angels of heaven at table together, and eating turkey. 
So he endormed the somnambule, and after a while asked him if he 
did not see something extraordinary ; the somnambule replied that 

1 Dr. Despine, " Etude Scientifique sur le Somnambulisme," p. 221. Paris, i58o. 
8 Teste, " Manuel Pratique du Magnetiseur," 4th ed., 1854 ; and " Le Magn. 
Anim. Explique," p. 243, 1845. 


he saw a great company of angels. 'And what are they doing?' 
' They are around a table and are eating.' But he could not tell what 
dishes they had before them." ' 

In general, if the somnambule thinks he sees something out of the 
ordinary course of things, the first question is, whether that is not due 
to simple involuntary suggestion on our part. 

7. "A student of medicine asks one of my somnambules what 
patients the jury will give him for examination as his test for the 
doctorate. She described very accurately three patients in the Hotel 
Dieu who had more particularly attracted the attention of the student, 
and whom he would have wished to be made the subjects of his 
examination. She even added — a characteristic detail — with regard 
to one of the patients : ' Oh, what a bright eye that woman has — and 
fixed ! It makes me afraid, that eye ! ' ' Does she see with that 
bright eye ? ' asked the student. ' Hold ! I do not know — it is hard. 
It is not natural. What is it made of ? Something — something that 
breaks — and shines. Oh, she is taking it out — putting it in water,' and 
so on. The patient had a glass eye ; this fact, of which I was quite 
ignorant (for I did not know the patients in question), but which was 
known to the student that was questioning the somnambule, was 
described accurately by he r . Whence did she get the image ? From 
the questioner's psychism, which, through mine as an intermediary, 
was reflected in her. 

" It is right to add that the somnambule's predictions were not 
fulfilled ; that on the day of his test the student had to examine other 
patients, and that those described by the somnambule were not even 
mentioned." 3 

"As a rule," says Dr. Charpignon, " second-sight is confounded with 
the phenomenon of thought-transmission. Thus, most of the experi- 
ments that are cited consist in asking the somnambule to go to your 
home or to a place known to you. You are in rapport with him and he 
usually describes to you places or objects with the utmost precision. 
Now, in all this there is, as a rule, no real vision : the somnambule 
sees in your thoughts the images you trace therein. The more 
attentively you follow him and direct his descriptions (namely, by 
helping him with verbal suggestions), the more perfect they will be." * 

But this is of rather rare occurrence. I have observed only one 
case of this kind. That was some time ago, and as I did not believe 
in mental transmission, I regarded the fact as the result of circum- 
stances that it was impossible to verify. According to the person 
that consulted the somnambule, the latter had described exactly to 
him his house and garden. But Charpignon is quite right in saying 
that if there be such a thing as vision at a distance, it has usually 
been apparent only, leading astray magnetizers that were not exacting. 

1 Noizet, " M6moire," p. 128. 

2 Perronet, " Du Magn. Anim.," p. 34, 1884. 

3 Dr. Charpignon, " Physiologie, M6decine, et Metaphysique du Magn4tisme," 
p. 90. 


They wrote a few words, for instance, on a bit of paper, then folded 
this carefully ; the somnambule clapped it on his own person any- 
where, and "read" the contents. It was Dr. Teste, I believe, who, 
believing he had a case of second sight, broke down completely 
in his experiments before the Academic Commission of 1840, when a 
bit of writing shut up in a box, and the contents of which he did not 
know, was to be " read " by the somnambule. It need not be added 
that certain bona fide magnetizers, among them Mr. Hublier, have 
been simply tricked by their somnambules. 1 

Mr. Henry Joly, a who does not believe in clairvoyance, nor in 
thought-transference, relates the following : 

8. " We have from an honorable magistrate, one of the most sym- 
pathetic auditors of our courts, the minutes of an inquiry or expertise 
made by him in the case of a somnambule, whose practices had been 
brought under the notice of the officers of the law. This magistrate 
was of the opinion that the somnambule was honest and that she was 
really endormed. Monday, July 4, 1859, he said, I repaired at 8.40 
a. m. to the house of the B's., husband and wife, living in C. S. S., 
St. G. Street. I asked Mr. B. to put his wife in the state of magnetic 
sleep. The woman has been blind for 2 years, does not d'stinguish 
objects, and has but a dim perception of light through the left eye. 
Mr. B. had told me that I might interrogate his wife ; I put into her 
hands a white handkerchief, and the following dialogue took place : 
'Can you tell me what mark is on this handkerchief?' 'Very easily; 
but who gave you this handkerchief ? ' ' Answer my question. This 
handkerchief is mine ; I bought it.' i The mark that I have under my 
fingers is pretty hard to read. But I see an M.; I cannot read the 
letter that is before it ' (the mark on the handkerchief is J. M., on red 
cotton, in Gothic letters) 

" ' What is the age of the person to whom this lock of hair belongs ? ' 
' It is a young person.' ' Can you conduct me to that person ?' ' No ; 
for the person is no more.' ' You have divined aright. Can you read 
the letters written on the inside of this medallion ?' * It is pretty hard. 
I will try. . . . No ; I cannot read.' 

" ' Could you tell me whether I have on my body a fresh wound, 
and where ?' ' Yes ; you have one on the leg, or rather not a wound, 
for it is closed.' 'On which leg?' 'It is on the left.' (That was 
correct, but she was in error as to the precise place.) ' I hand you 
this lock of hair wrapped in paper. Examine it.' ' It is not blond 
like that you showed me a while ago ; it is very dark brown. What do 
you mean to do with it ? Take it to my neighbor, R. ; he makes hair- 
work mementoes in very fine style. 1 ' Tell me whose hair it is.' (The 
somnambule is much fatigued ; she hesitates for a good while without 
replying.) ' Does it belong to a man or to a woman ? ' ' To a woman/ 
'You are mistaken.' 'Yes, I was mistaken. I thought you intended 
this hair to be worn by a woman ; that is what I meant to say.' ' Tell 
me whether I have much love for the person to whom this hair 

1 Burdin and Dubois, " Histoire Academique du Magnetisme Animal," p. 584, 
et seq. Paris, 1841. 

2 H. Joly, " L'Imagination, Etude Psychologique," p. 60. Paris, 1877. 


belongs.' ' So much that one cannot have more.' ' Do you know 
what that person is to me ? ' With a little impatience : ' I have told 
how you loved the person. It is with family affection, that is plain ; 
it is the bond of blood ; I cannot say anything else.' The hair was 
very dark brown ; it was a lock cut from the head of my only son by 
his mother, who intends to have a bracelet made of it for herself." 

The author from whom this observation is taken does not believe 
in clairvoyance, and plainly there is in this instance no clairvoyance 
proper ; but it were difficult, I think, to explain the facts unless there 
were some traces of thought-transference in spite of the verbal sug- 
gestions, which are not wanting. 

Another skeptic, Mr. Tissot, 1 gives his own experience : 

9. " Seance of Sept. 4. — Sixty pulsations a minute, before the sleep 
as after ; but at the moment of sleep and before the feigned or real 
convulsion (there was no convulsive movement in the two latest 
seances) sudden weakening of pulse, without slowing ; after the con- 
vulsive movement the pulse regains its intensity. The somnambule, 
who, according to all appearances, knew not the localities I made her 
traverse and visit, though she was of Franche Comte and Haute- 
Saone, betakes herself to the village where I was born, the name of 
which I withhold from her, and which she names of her own accord. 
But in passing by way of Pontarlier she gives the name of that town ; 
tells the direction in which lies Les Fourgs — the village in question ; 
describes the road leading thither from the Department highway ; 
assigns the position of the church outside the village, and gives almost 
the number of my father's house ; adds remarkably correct particulars 
about my mother, the sequels of her lying-in, her ailment, the treat- 
ment, her death. But she is mistaken as to my age at the time 
of the death, and on the make-up of the family. She hits it 
exactly with regard to sundry details of the life of my father and my 
mother, and is mistaken as to some others. She describes with great 
precision the features of the country as one observes them in following 
the path leading from the village to the hamlet of La Beuffarde ; 
makes two mistakes with regard to the house I used to live in ; then 
describes its parts precisely ; is mistaken as to the cause of the ruin 
of a neighboring house. She gives correct details about my early 
years ; follows me elsewhither; is only half-way mistaken with respect 
to my situation at Pontarlier from 1815 to 1819 ; is more exact as to 
my life and occupation at Besangon ; but her intuition of the remainder 
of my life is a little more obscure, though a pretty large number of 
the particulars are true." 

In this narrative we have a somnambulic dream, fed by verbal sug- 
gestions, but also by communication of recollections, especially recol- 
lections of early childhood, which are wont to be vivid. 

Mr. Tissot's somnambule, as also Mr. Joly's, was deaf to impres- 
sions not proceeding from the person with whom she was in rapport. 

Mr. Tissot presents his manner of making notes as a model. But 

1 J. Tissot, " L'Imagination, ses Bienfaits et ses Egarements," p. 119. Paris, 


it is far from being satisfactory. He has noted all the errors of the 
somnambule, but that is not enough. The entire dialogue must be 
noted. Hence I prefer General Noizet's narrative. 

General Noizet, author of several philosophical works, and whose 
volume on somnambulism was praised at the Academy of Sciences by 
Flourens, recounts the following fact : 

10. "I reached my friend's place before the magnetizer and his 
somnambule, and the master of the house told us that among the ex- 
traordinary powers she was credited with was, that she could tell 
what a person with whom she was put in rapport had been doing 
throughout the day. Now, on that very day it chanced that I had 
done something quite out of the common — I had gone to the Hotel 
des Invalides with the Duke de Montpensier, to show him the gallery 
of relief-plans of the fortifications. I proposed to test on myself the 
somnambule's power, and this proposition was accepted by my two 
friends. The somnambule having arrived and having been endormed, 
I forthwith put myself in rapport with her, and asked if she was able 
to see what I had been doing that day. After some details of little 
consequence, and obtained with difficulty, as to how I had passed the 
morning, I asked whither I had gone for breakfast. She answered, 
without much hesitation, 'To the Tuileries.' That might mean a 
simple stroll thither, so I persisted and asked at what point I had 
entered. 'By the wicket on the quay hard by the Pont-Royal.' 
' And then ? ' ' You went up into the chateau.' ' By which steps, the 
middle ones ? ' ' No ; by those at the corner, near the wicket.' Here 
she lost herself among the different sets of steps — and well she 
might, for there are many of them. Finally she set me down in a 
large hall where some officers were. It was a reception hall on the 
ground floor. ' You waited,' said she to me. ' And then ? ' ' A tall young 
man came and spoke to you.' 'Who was that young man?' 'I do not 
know.' 'Try hard to find out.' 'Oh, it is the King's son.' 'Which?' 'I 
do not know.' (I tell her it was the Duke de Montpensier.) 'Afterward?' 
'You entered a coach.' 'Alone?' ' No ; with the prince.' 'Where was I 
placed ? ' ' In the rear, to the left of him.' ' Were we two alone in the 
coach ? ' ' No ; there was, further, in front, a stout gentleman ? ' ' Who 
was that gentleman ?' 'I do not know.' 'Try.' (After reflecting) 
' 'Twas the King..' ' How,' said I, ' I on the rear seat and the King on 
the front ? You see that is not reasonable.' ' I can't say ; I do not know 
that gentleman.' ' Well, it was the Prince's aide-de-camp.' ' I do not 
know him.' ' Where did we go ? ' ' Along the riverside.' ' And then ? ' 
' You entered a large chateau.' ' What chateau ? ' ' I do not know ; 
there are trees before you come to it.' 'Take a good look ai it, 
you must know it.' 'No; I don't know.' (I drop this question and 
tell her to continue.) 'You were in a large hall.' (Here she gives 
me an imaginative description of the hall, where she see stars glitter- 
ing on a white ground.) At last she said to me: ' There were long 
tables.' ' And what was on the tables ? ' 'It was not high nor was it 
entirely flat.' (I could not bring her to tell me that it was relief- 
plans — things that she, no doubt, had never seen.) ' What did we do 
then, at those tables?' 'You got on a bench, and with a long rod 
pointed out something?' (This remarkable specification was per- 
fectly exact.) At last she had us in the coach again and away. I 
then said to her : ' But just look back ; you must recognize the place 


we are leaving.' ' Ah ! ' she said, as though astonished and confused, 
' 'tis the Hotel des Invalides.' She said, furthermore, that the Prince 
quitted me at the door, which was the fact. 

" Though familiar with the phenomena of somnambulism, this 
scene nevertheless impressed me much, and I could not reasonably 
attribute to any cause save the faculty of reading my thoughts or of 
deciphering impressions still existing in my brain, the kind of divina- 
tion exhibited by the somnambule. That is the only explanation I 
can give even to-day." 

This observation is curious, indeed, in that it proves : 

a. That till the moment when the General had fixed his atten- 
tion on some detail of his recollections, the somnambule divined 

b. That sometimes she spoke according to verbal suggestions made 
by the General, and that then either she wandered abroad in con- 
jecture, or else complemented these verbal suggestions with details 
mentally transmitted. 

c. That she " saw " best the details that had left the most vivid 
traces on the mind of the General. 

d. That the traces partially transmitted were completed little by 
little, till they formed a more distinct image (the Invalides). 

e. That sometimes reflective conjecture failed completely, and then 
the somnambule guided herself by images passing spontaneously 
through her mind (the King). 

ii. "Professor Barrett, of Edinburgh, tells of a young Irishwoman 
who, though she never had been away from her native village, was 
able to describe Regent Street, London, which street he was thinking 
of when he magnetized her. From this fact and from other facts 
like it, Professor Barrett concludes that any idea upon which the 
operator concentrates his thoughts produces its like in the mind 
■of the magnetized subject." ' 

12. Mr. Ch. Richet has recently collected many observations of 
this kind (not yet published). The subject, when questioned by the 
operator, describes a chamber, a house, etc., according to the mag- 
netizer's recollections. These observations, made with exactness, 
possess a special interest, for they may help us to determine the role 
of unconscious recollections in the act of transmission. We may in this 
way decide whether, and in what proportion, the knowledge one pos- 
sesses, but which at the moment is not present in the mind, can be 
transmitted to the subject. All that is needed for attaining this 
object is carefully to note and describe in detail the operator's men- 
tal state. 

13. Mr. William Gregory, ex-Professor of Ghemistry in the Uni- 

1 I quote the from P. Despine {op. cit.), only correcting the name of the 
operator from Bennet (as given by Dr. Despine) to Barrett. Prof. W. F. Barrett, 
no doubt, is meant, for this experiment is described in an article by him " On Some 
Phenomena Associated with Abnormal Conditions of Mind," published in the " Proc. 
Soc. Psych. Res.," p. 238. July, 1883. — Author's note. 


versity of Edinburgh, quotes a similar case, but I have not his book 
at hand. 1 

14. The Count de Maricourt, 3 from whom we have already quoted 
a few lines, gives the following narrative : 

" It has often happened to me to be staggered and nonplussed by 
the clairvoyance of somnambules, who told of impressions or divined 
sentiments that I could have wished to keep secret from them. As I 
lived in association with these persons, the fact may be accounted for 
by the habitual community of thought existing between us. To put 
aside this cause of illusion, I tried an experiment upon a person entirely 
unknown to me. A professional magnetizer was at the time exhibit- 
ing in Paris a certain somnambule, about whose performances 
marvelous stories were told. She knew the past, the present and the 
future, understood all languages, and above all divined the most 
secret thoughts. The seances were held in ■ a large hall on the 
boulevards. You had only to give her your hand and concentrate 
your thought upon any object whatever, and she would tell you, 
following your thought, what the object was. I saw several gentle- 
men interrogate her thus tacitly. One of them thought of a murder, 
of a duel he had witnessed ; another made her a witness of some 
battle scene, of a shipwreck, or of a fire. The somnamibule's 
descriptions seemed fully to convince her patrons. As I did not 
believe in the supernatural, I did not wish to be fooled by jugglers. 
These gentlemen, who were unknown to me, might easily enough be 
accomplices. ' It is not necessary (said the Barnum of the establish- 
ment) to entertain the somnambule with tales of horror and disaster 
only. On the contrary, I should say you fatigue her by occasioning 
painful emotions.' 

" I, too, wished to experiment in my turn ; in accordance with the 
advice of the manager, I called up a pleasant memory inwardly, going 
back to a remote place in the country, and to a time some few years 

The author here recounts the whole story of a feast in which the 
dominant figure is a drunken man, with red nose and a very comical 
face, whom he describes in detail. 

" I said not a word (he continues) to the somnambule, but to this 
vision of the past I strove to give, in my mind, the luminous distinct- 
ness of a photograph. ' Oh, what a ridiculous phiz ! (exclaimed the 
seeress after a few moments). What a phiz, what a phiz, my God ! ' 
Her almost convulsive laugh had in it something so infectious that 
the whole company shared her jollity. 

"This time I had to confess myself entirely convinced. To the 
faculty — unexplainable by the play of the organism — of seeing thus 
into the minds of others must be attributed the alleged facts of 
somnambulic polyglotism." 

This experiment is not quite conclusive, for jollity being the order 
of the day after the magnetizer's speech, the somnambule divined 
only the mental image of a phiz. But granting this not to have been 

1 Gregory, " Letters on Mesmerism and Clairvoyance," Edinburgh, 1852 ; Morin, 
op. cit., p. 168. 

2 R. Comte de Maricourt, " Souvenirs d'un Magnetiseur," p. 96 et seq. Paris, 18S4. 


pure chance, the experiment is instructive in this, that the humorous, 
comic element, being transmitted, to the somnambule and producing 
laughter, hindered the transmission of all the objective images that 
were in the mind of the Count. 

Another experiment that I find in the same book is more con- 
vincing : 

15. "I was walking with a patient whom I had endormed before- 
hand. [There is nothing unusual in this walk. In active somnam- 
bulism the subject presents all the appearances of a waking person. 
If the somnambulism, however, is not deep enough, the subject may- 
be awakened by a current of air. In other cases you might throw the 
subject into water or into a fire without awakening him.] She was 
paralyzed in the legs and could walk only in the magnetic sleep. 
[This, too, is seen often enough in hysteric paralysis.] As we passed 
in front of a field, the owner of which I knew, I asked her to tell me 
Ms name, and at the same time pronounced the name inwardly ; I had 
some difficulty in obtaining a satisfactory reply. [Observe, the 
patient was in an active polyideic state.] The subject declared 
that she could not tell it to me ; I insisted, and the name was pro- 
nounced as I wished. It is, you see, a hard job (fait brutal), for the 
subject has to see what you think and what she cannot guess. No 
more striking instance of thought-reading can, I think, be found " 

(P- I2 3)- 

16. Dr. Puel, author of a memoir on catalepsy that was "crowned" 

by the Academy, also made one of his cataleptics divine words he 
thought of ; only he made the task light by indicating the termi- 
nations. He would say to the patient : " Tell me the word I am 

thinking of; it rhymes with " (clairvoyance, for example), and 

the subject gave it without hesitation. 1 

17. Dr. Comet, editor of medical journals and a distinguished writer, 
was a thorough unbeliever in somnambulism, and had often amused 
his readers by ridiculing the wonders of lucidity as reported by mag- 
netizers. In 1839, his wife, having fallen ill, had a fit of natural som- 
nambulism, and became lucid. Mr. Comet (whose testimony has the 
more weight, inasmuch as it dealt with facts that 'he had considered 
impossible) sent to the Academy of Medicine a detailed report and 
published the same in the journal L'Hygie. To mention but two of 
Mrs. Comet's feats, she would describe every little object held in the 
closed hand and divined thoughts that related to her. 

I pass over other feats that have to do with another question, that 
of clairvoyance, that is, when the subject sees or divines things that 
cannot be known to the persons around her. After quoting the 
description of these curious facts as found in Dr. Comet's " Report," 
another physician, Mr. Frappart, adds : " Surely it must have cost 
its author dear, for but the other day he was one of the most deter- 
mined opponents of magnetism." But Mr. Comet " did not go there 
by four roads," and here is what he himself wrote in his " Report : " 

" The unfortunate ailment of my wife carries with it a consolation, 
for it will bring to unappealable judgment a question that has been 
the subject of much discussion in this Academy and in the press, 
wherein I have taken an active part — I speak of the lucidity and 

1 A. S. Morin, " Du Magnetisme et des Sciences Occultes," p. 177. Paris, i860. 


clairvoyance of somnambules and the wonderful things they do. 
Three months ago I myself did not believe them, and to-day I regret 
my having characterized them publicly as fraudulent devices and 
catchpenny tricks." 

There is a piece of advice for hypnotizers who are doing the same 
thing to-day ! 

But as for the hope that Dr. Comet fostered, in the belief that the 
Academy would profit by this occasion and decide, as the highest 
court, a question that so profoundly concerns the progress of science 
— what an illusion ! 

The Academy could not refuse to name a commission that was 
asked for by an esteemed member. The commission even went twice 
to visit Mrs. Comet ; but after remarking that the case had some 
extraordinary features, in dealing with which they might compromise 
either their sagacity or their renown, they hesitated about going on. 

" I notified all of them this morning," wrote Mr. Comet, " and I 
count upon them for this evening " — the business being to verify a 
prediction made by the patient. " The fact is of sufficient interest to 
science and humanity for them to take cognizance of it." " Be not 
deluded," answered Dr. Frappart, " not one of them will come, either 
to-night or to-morrow, or later, for a man carefully holds aloof from 
the truth that hurts him." 

In fact, no member of the commission went. 1 

18. A well-known physicist-prestigiator, Mr. Robert-Houdin, took 
a greater interest in these questions. We have already mentioned his 
imitating second-sight and thought-transmission, by means of a very 
ingenious trick. At the outset he was very incredulous about somnam- 
bulism. Nay, accustomed as he was to perform wonderful feats, he 
made light of marvels, and believed he held the secret of them all ; 
and he, too, regarded the extraordinary performances of lucid som- 
nambules as clever tricks. In many towns where somnambules had 
been successful, he amused himself by counterfeiting their doings, 
and even surpassing them. Mr. de Mirville, the famous demonologist, 
who, in his system, has need of somnambulism, thereby to do 
honor to the -spirits infernal, conceived the ambitious project of 
converting so doughty an adversary. With good reason he judged 
that should he succeed in proving to Robert-Houdin that lucidity 
belongs to a class of things entirely foreign to his studies and his 
practice, the testimony of so expert a judge would be of great service 
to the cause of magnetism. So he took him to see the somnambule 
Alexis. Mr. de Mirville, in his book on " Spirits," describes the scene. 

Mr. Morin, from whom I borrow this passage, and who wrote a 
spiritnel 'but skeptical book on magnetism, declares that Robert-Houdin 
assured him of the exactitude of Mr. de Mirville's narrative. 

" I was amazed, confounded (says the prestigiator). Here was 
neither trick nor jugglery. I was witness of the exercise of a higher, 

1 Dr. Frappart, " Lettres sur le Magnetisme," 1839, 1840 ; Dr. Comet, " LaVerite 
aux Medecins," 1869; Dr. Charpignon, " Physiologie," etc., p. 116, 1848; Morin, 
" Du Magnetisme," p. 176, 1800. 


an inconceivable faculty whereof I had not the slightest notion, and 
in which I would have refused to believe, had not the facts come 
under my own eyes. So great was my emotion that the perspiration 
streamed down my face." With other experiments he mentions the 
following : 

19. " Alexis, seizing the hands of my wife, who accompanied me, 
spoke to her about past occurrences, and in particular about the very 
painful loss of one of our children ; all the circumstances were re- 
counted accurately." [In this case, the somnambule read in the mind 
of Mrs. Houdin her recollections and her sentiments, which were more 
or less vivid in her consciousness.] 

Another feat of the same somnambule simulates vision and clair- 
voyance at the same time, as in the case last mentioned, by trans- 
mission of recollections. 

20. " We had with us a physician, a strong unbeliever, Dr. Chomel, 
who, desiring also to study the matter for himself, presented to Alexis 
a little box. The somnambule felt of it without opening it, and said, 
' It is a medal ; it was given you under rather singular circumstances. 
You were then a poor student, living at Lyons in an attic. A work- 
man to whom you had rendered some services found this medal among- 
refuse, and thinking it might be of some interest to you, climbed 
your six flights of stairs to offer it to you.' This was all true. Certainly 
here are facts that one can neither guess not hit on by chance. The 
doctor shared our admiration for the feat. I gave to Mr. de Mirville 
the certificate he asked of me, stating that the facts I had witnessed 
surpassed all that can be done by sleight-of-hand." 

Another quotation from the same author will be found interesting for 
the very reason that it mentions some mistakes made by the somnam- 
bule : 

19. " Some months after, I went a second time to consult Alexis. I 
did not find him as lucid as at first. I was specially impressed by one 
feature. I presented to him a letter I had just received, and which 
had not yet been opened. [But Mr. Houdin knew whom it was from.] 
It bore the Boulogne post-mark. Alexis told me it had come from 
England, which was true, and gave me a pretty correct description of 
the writer. He made a mistake in saying he was a book-seller ; I 
took him up, and then he said he saw him in a room filled with books 
and like a book-seller's shop ; and such in fact was the appearance of 
the sitting-room of my correspondent." * 

When we recall a person to mind, we automatically (inachinalement ') 
recall also his surroundings, the background. on which his silhouette 
is limned by memory ; and doubtless it is this fleeting image that was 
communicated to the somnambule and led him to say, conjecturally, that 
the writer of the letter was a book-seller. Note again, that the seer 
did not tell Mr. Houdin what was in the letter : that was a detail of 
which Houdin himself was ignorant. 

Facts like these last are usually classed as feats of clairvoyance, or 

'A. S. Morin, op. cit., p. 180. 


are confounded with others which, if they are correctly reported, seem 
really to exhibit a faculty different from the one we are considering 

And, strange to say, there are in the history of magnetism, even 
though we restrict ourselves to observations made by scientific men, 
more facts of clairvoyance, relating in particular to questions of the 
health of patients, than there are facts of mental suggestion properly 
so-called. It is true that in many cases of somnambulic consultation, 
we must absolutely presuppose the mental influence of the physician, un- 
less we are willing to accept explanations more extraordinary still, or 
totally inadequate. 

Baragnon distinguishes mental transmission from lucidity ; he is 
right, for what is called " clairvoyance " (I do not mean to discuss 
here the value of that " faculty," not having studied it sufficiently) 
presupposes a state rather more polyideic than the one that favors pas- 
sive transmission. Lafontaine, too, had too much experience not to 
have noticed that the transmission of sensations of thought and of 
will does not imply lucidity. He even observes that often they who 
consult somnambules do in reality consult themselves, the somnam- 
bule merely reproducing their thoughts. But Baragnon is more 
explicit. " There may be," says he, " thought-transference without 
clairvoyance, just as there may be clairvoyance without thought- 
transference : the two phenomena are independent." He names as 
conditions favoring thought-transference these : 

1. " A close sympathy of the magnetizer with the subject. 

2. "A sleep cheerful (gai), free; highly developed magnetic 

3. " Transmission of sensations as a basis." 

As for the first condition, nothing more needs to be said. Plainly, 
sympathism is more facile where sympathy already exists. 

With regard to the second, I am a little surprised to find that the 
sleep must be cheerful and free, for to me such sleep seems less favor- 
able to true transmission, though it is highly favorable to divination 
by conjecture. 1 

By " magnetic vision " Baragnon understands the faculty that many 
somnambules possess of making their way about and finding their 
bearings though their eyes be closed, even in places unfamiliar to 
them, or in the dark. It is far less exact in details than ordinary vis- 
ion, but, according to this author, it becomes very accurate when an 
organism is put in rapport with the somnambule. 

1 " Cheerful and free sleep " is not a happy phrase, and does not render with pre- 
cision the French sommeil gai et libre. The meaning of " gay," " free " sleep, is per- 
haps best obtained by looking at its opposite, namely, magnetic sleep in which the 
somnambule is more or less inert mentally, say, withotit initiative, and is restricted in 
his psychic action. In other words, " gay, free," = polyideic. — Translator. 


We must not be too ready to ridicule this magnetic vision. I cannot 
analyze here the question of vision with closed eyes, which, indeed, I 
have studied but little, and I do not yet admit the existence of such 
faculty. I believe that in the cases in which it has been supposed by 
competent observers to exist, for example, the case reported by the 
Academy Commission, it may be regarded as an exaltation of vision, 
that is to say, vision through the eyelids. But what Baragnon calls 
" magnetic vision " is a complex phenomenon, sometimes independent 
of the visual organs — rather an exaltation of touch or more probably 
an elective and limited exaltation of all the senses, sometimes of those of 
touch and hearing, sometimes of sight and smell, etc. That is what I 
mean by elective, or specificated hyperesthesia. 

When the magnetic sleep is thorough, the subject is insensible, deaf, 
and blind to all that takes place outside of the magnetic " rapport. '" 
But in turn his senses are hyperaesthesic with respect to the magnetizer, 
or of any object upon which he fixes his attention. The apparent con- 
tradiction must not shock us. The senses are unchanged, but the 
state of the brain may modify their action in the direction of plus .or 
of minus. In the first place, the same quantity of nervous energy 
may, instead of being expended on all the senses, be concentrated 
upon one at the expense of the rest ; then, in the same sense (touch 
in particular), it may be concentrated in one region, in a single point, 
at the expense of the rest (the hysterogenic zones belong to this 
class) ; finally, this displacement may be still further specificated by 
a brain-adjustment. A mother that is not awakened by a loud knock- 
ing at night, is up with a leap at the faintest cry of her babe, because 
her brain is adjusted for that kind of impressions only. There is an 
unconscious attention that watches without interfering with sleep. One 
forms the intention of awaking at 5 o'clock in the morning, and at 
the stroke of five awakes ; and so on. 

Somnambulism shows us magnified what is exhibited on a small 
scale every day of our lives. The magnetizer is for his subject like 
the figures at the opera that are illumined by an electric light. He 
alone is visible, around him all is darkness ; but he it is that holds the 
reflector, and he can project the light whither he will. 

The somnambule " sees " with closed eyes his magnetizer, or at 
least translates by the term " vision " all his concentrated and exalted 
sensations, which come from the magnetizer. He feels his presence, 
knows whether he is to the right or the left, whether he is walking or 
motionless ; to a certain extent, he senses even his gestures ; all this 
through perception of air-movements, of warmth, of cutaneous odor, 
of noises made, of tones of voice, etc.; and these impressions being by 
habitude associated with visual images, the somnambule translates 
them into terms of vision. 

" Magnetic vision," in this sense, is, of course, a favorable condition 


for mental communications ; yet it implies a theory of divination 
rather than a theory of direct transmission. Baragnon leaves the 
question undecided. 

Finally, the third condition, too, is consistent with physiology. 
Thoughts are only sensations cerebralized (excuse the word I). 1 

Not only are sensations the sole springs of ideas in their primitive 
form, but every fully elaborated idea, so far forth as it is active, is ac- 
companied by unmodified sensations, 2 unconscious for the most part, 
but which sustain the consciousness. So, too, it is accompanied by 
the inchoate reflex movements proper to it (Sietschenoff), and Campa- 
nula, perhaps, was in the right when he said that if he could imitate 
precisely the attitude 3 of a man that is thinking of anything, he 
could at once divine his thought. 

" There is no doubt," says Baragnon, " but that transmission of sen- 
sations has much to do with thought-transference." He holds that 
the reciprocal sensations of two organisms, in the state of erethism 
that conditions that phenomenon, awaken in the mind the same 
thoughts, precisely as in ordinary perception, in which the words 
uttered enable us to know the thoughts. 

In that sense, properly speaking, there would be no transmission of 
thought, but only of sensations. The theory is tenable, but not in 
every instance, for mental suggestion may exist without transmission 
of sensations, at least without perceptible transmission. 

The following fact would seem to have supplied a basis for the 
views of Baragnon : 

" I was smoking quietly in company with some gentlemen in an 
apartment adjoining a parlor where that evening I had made some 
experiments, when the request was made unexpectedly that I should 
endorm from a distance my subject, who had remained in the parlor 
with the ladies ; I did so without knowing that he was dancing. The 
fluid came upon him like a lightning-stroke, and with the sleep he had 
a crisis. I was summoned. The somnambule was surrounded by a 
ring of spectators standing so close that I had difficulty in getting 
through. ' Hey ! Get out of there, if you want to have him recover,' 
said I, gruffly, to a young officer that kept me back, not knowing me ; 
for I was thinking only of my patient, and had put politeness in 
quarantine. The crisis was checked straightway. I let the subject 
sleep for a few minutes in quiet, and thought of everything but the 
young officer. The latter after a few moments came up to me, no 

1 But the term admits of no apology ! Moreover, it is unnecessary, for a perfectly 
legitimate one might have been coined to express the idea, to wit, encephalized. — 

2 Sensations brutes = sensations " in the raw state." — Translator. 

3 The word appears to be used in a larger sense than attaches to it commonly in 
English. Doubtless it denotes here the whole nervo-muscular action of the man, in- 
ternal no less than external, not merely his pose, the direction of his eyes, etc. ; not 
simply his outward action and bearing, as a good mimic might render the same. — 
Translator . 


doubt to demand an explanation of my rudeness , my subject rose to 
his feet, went toward the officer, stopped him, took hold of his hands, 
and said : ' You are offended He is in the wrong, excuse him , he is 
quick-tempered, but he is kindly/ On learning what was the matter, 
I hastened to offer my apologies, which were courteously accepted. I 
then questioned myself as to the purport of this phenomenon. No- 
body, in the confusion of the moment, had heard me speak to the 
officer I had no recollection of having said a word to him. Som- 
nambules hear nobody but their magnetizer, and my subject was in 
the crisis." * 

The author gives the story without comment, but comment is 

i. We have here a pretty clear case of will-action from a distance. 
The crisis came on in consequence of a collision between the subject's 
activity (dancing) and the magnetizer's unexpected action. This 
action is at present unexplained, unless we are content with the ex- 
planation given by Baragnon — fluid-projection. But we pass that by ; 
we will return to it later. 

2, The magnetizer could not transmit his sensations, for he took no 
notice of anything, being occupied with his patient. The only sup- 
position would be that he had unconscious sensations, and that they 
were transmitted unconsciously — a supposition impossible to verify. 

3 But what maybe considered certain is, that thesomnambule heard 
his magnetizer when the latter said to the officer " Hey, get out," etc. 
His attention was attracted, and it is probable that the officer muttered 
some words that the subject heard likewise. He divined the situation , 
his attention remained fixed on the impressions coming from the 
officer , and sympathy determined his course. 

It is true that, as a rule, somnambules do not hear strangers, nor 
even their magnetizer when he addresses his speech to other persons , 
but in this instance the voice indicated the coming of the magnetizer, 
and when that is the case it is often heard. Then, recall what we have 
said above concerning unconscious sensations, not perceived directly, 
but which enter the brain, there to manifest themselves afterward at a 
favorable moment. 

Consequently, this observation does not even prove the transmission 
of sensations. 

We have already quoted Dr. Teste, who believed that he could hold 
a mental conversation with his somnambule, as Madame Guyon used 
to converse with her confessor. Puysegur mentions several facts of 
this kind, among others the feat of a cataleptic who, being deaf, an- 
swered for some moments very detailed questions put mentally " with- 
out words and without any expression of the face-muscles." He 
quotes the answers word for word. 

General Noizet gives the following narrative : 
'Baragnon, op. tit., pp. 137, 301. 


" One of my friends, a young physician, employed in a Paris infirm- 
ary, did not believe in the surprising facts of somnambulism. I in- 
duced him to make experiments on one of his patients. He followed 
my advice, and soon he had a somnambule. He had heard that these 
singular beings can answer questions put to them mentally. He ques- 
tioned his somnambule in this way on behalf of another woman that 
was present, to whom he did not wish his question to be known, and, 
as luck would have it, the somnambule answered with such correct- 
ness that he did not easily recover from the emotion caused by so ex- 
traordinary a feat." ' 

I never have observed anything of this sort, save for a moment 
with regard to a few detached questions. But there once was a physi- 
cian who declared that this phenomenon was of constant occurrence 
with a patient of his. This was Dr. Barrier, of Privas, who, in a me- 
moir addressed to Cuvier and to the Academy, in 1835, mentions the 
following facts, observed in the case of a patient, Euphrasia Bonneau : 

1. " Complete insensibility, except at the epigastrium, where life is 
concentrated." (This often is the case with magnetized hysteric sub- 
jects. " Life concentrated at the epigastrium " means simply that the 
epigastrium is the only sensitive part, and that only through that part 
of the body " rapport " could be maintained. We find similar facts in 
Petetin, Frank and others.) 

2. " The gift of divining the thoughts of a person who comes into 
rapport with her : so pronounced is this faculty, that Euphrasia 
holds a conversation in which the interlocutor speaks mentally only." 

3. " Production of very remarkable electro-magnetic phenomena." 

4. "Abolition of sight, taste and smell in the organs of those 
senses, and their transfer to the epigastrium." (We need not consider 
this phenomenon here ; it can be studied in Petetin, Frank, Teste and 

5. " Prevision of future events with regard to her ailment." 
(There was a good deal of amusement recently at the Academy of 

Sciences apropos of a communication of this kind. The faculty never- 
theless exists, and is in nowise extraordinary. An hysterepileptic 
patient sometimes foresees a paroxysm, knowing by the aura hysterica 
that it is coming on ; a magnetized hysteriac, whose whole attention 
is concentrated inwardly, may foresee it several days in advance. 
Finally, it is to be observed that the unconscious sometimes foresees 
what it is itself going to produce.) 

6. " Appreciation of the value of remedies proposed ; feeling others'' 

7. " Strong inclination to act the part of prophetess." a 

I quote this communication only as part of the record. 

1 Noizet, " Memoire sur le Somnambulisme," p. 127. Paris, 1854. 
2 1 have not been able to obtain this memoir ; I merely find it mentioned by Char- 
pignon (" Phys., Med. et Met., p. 397). 




WE come now to will-transmission. I begin with a narrative by 
a very good observer, now almost utterly forgotten. Four- 
nel * tells us of a somnambule whom he ordered to take a hat that lay 
on a table in the middle of his sitting-room, and to go and put it on 

the head of one of the company. 

" This will (he writes) I did not express in speech, but only by a 

sign, which traced the lines I wanted him to go over, and which ended 

at the hat. The somnambule, whose eyes were bandaged, rose from his 

chair, followed the direction indicated by my finger, advanced toward 

the table, took the hat from among several objects, and went and put 

it on the head of the person indicated." 2 

It is to be remarked that the gestures of the magnetizer help the 
experiment, even when they are not seen by the subject. Sundry 
agents contribute to this result, i. Air-currents, often very clearly 
perceptible at a distance. 2. Auditive impressions accompanying the 
gestures. 3. Attractions, very active in some subjects. 4. The mental 
concentration itself of the operator, which is much facilitated by his 
mimetic gestures. 

Fournel's work appeared in 1785, that is, a year after Puysegur's 
classic memoir. I have begun with this little observation of Fournel's 
because, though it is not altogether demonstrative with regard to 
mental suggestion, it yet presents the most usual type of experiments 
in will-transmission as ordinarily practiced. 

But we must not forget that Puysegur was the first to propose this 
kind of researches. He it was that first proclaimed the reality of the 
fact and met the cavils of his contemporaries. 

One often wonders that certain studious observers should have re- 
tained the term " magnetic sleep," given by Mesmer and Puysegur to 
a certain form of artificial somnambulism, confounded nowadays with 
hypnosis. The passages I am about to quote will give the reason for 
so denominating it, and will show a close relation between it and will- 
transmission. The analogies that Puysegur believes he finds subsisting 
between certain electrical and magnetic phenomena, and the aptitudes 
of somnambules, may seem to us in these days inexact and superficial ; 
but neither must it be forgotten that even he considers them only as 
analogies, and not as proofs of identity. 

1 Fournel, the advocate, was the author of three remarkable writings ; *' Essai sur 
les Probabilites du Somnambulisme," Amsterdam and Paris, 1785 ; " Memoire pour 
le Docteur Vernier," 1785 — a defense of Dr. Vernier whose name was dropped from 
the rolls of the Faculty for having practiced magnetism ; and " Remontrance des 
Malades,'' etc., 1785. 

2 " Ess. sur les Prob.," p. 48. 


The following narrative has reference to an epileptic (probably 
hysterepileptic) girl, of whom the author speaks in his second 
u Mdmoire : " 

" This girl, in the somnambulic state, showed the utmost magnetic 
mobility ; and as, barring her nervous disorder, she was of very strong 
constitution, I had no fear lest I should injure her health by subjecting 
her to all the experiments for which she was fitted. Of all those who 
at the time came to my house to satisfy their curiosity, there must 
doubtless be still many who will recall the hours they passed there, 
and the details I am about to enter upon. 

" Before presenting Magdeleine before the company, I always began 
by announcing to the spectators not only what I was about to perform, 
but also what each one might perform to convince himself. ' The girl 
once in the somnambulic state,' I used to say to all, ' will present to 
you all the phenomena of electricity and of the magnet ; comparable 
at first in all respects to an insulated body charged with electric fluid \ 
she will be in communication with me alone, so that to touch her 
without risk of doing her hurt, and to make yourself heard by her, I 
must put you in rapport with her. Then, regardless of rest or of 
motion, she will obey all the intimations of your will, as readily as a 
magnetic needle obeys the iron held out to it.' 

" As can be understood, an announcement so extraordinary prepared 
the minds of the majority of the audience for an illusive performance, 
rather than for a real exhibition of unwonted powers ; but my subject 
was so well fitted to re-assure the audience by the passive state of all 
her sensations, that I felt sure I should, by her means, triumph over 
all uncertainties and over all the cavils of incredulity. 

" Magdeleine having entered, I performed upon her what I used to 
hear called, ironically, ' the great work,' or ' the mystery.' In two 
or three minutes, though no movement, no change, could be observed 
in her, she closed her eyes and was in the electro-magnetic state. I 
then invited the two or three persons named in advance by the com- 
pany, to begin the experiments. If one touched the arm, or even only 
the apron of the girl, she was seen to quiver and to suffer ; a bit of 
paper laid unawares upon her head weighed her down as though she 
were bearing a heavy burden hard to sustain. I have to say that at 
each shock {commotion) thus given her (for such in truth it was), I 
made haste by my touch to put her nerves at rest again, and the mis- 
chief done her was at once repaired. ... If anyone spoke to her, 
she made no reply, and whatever noise might be made at a little dis- 
tance from her, she seemed to be insensible to it. I then made a sign, 
for I did not speak, fearing lest people might suspect some understand- 
ing between the girl and me — I proposed, I say, to somebody to give 
me his hand ; immediately she, grown indifferent to the approach [of 
the stranger], answered him as she would have done in her natural 
state. Eight or ten persons joined hands, and provided they were in 
communication with me, the last, or the one nearest to her, repeated 
the experiments with the same success. When I thought I had proved 
sufficiently the analogy of the phenomena she presented, with those 
of electricity, I proceeded to the experiments designed to prove the 
same analogy with the magnet. To this end, I took a position face 
to face with her, and, without speaking, made her rise from her 
chair, and, by a sign, or even without any sign, with the hand (which, 


indeed, she could not have seen, for her eyes were shut), I directed 
her to a given part of the room, or to a given chair in which I willed 
her to sit ; I then, still mentally; made her touch, take up, and fetch 
me any object ; but, because, seeing that she did not act save by my 
direction, people might think with some show of reason, that I had an 
understanding with her, I used to say to the spectators : 

"' I have made the experiments you have just seen, only to show 
you in what way you are to act in order to repeat them yourselves : 
the one among you with *diom I am about to put this young lady in 
harmony, will make her obey, as I have done, all the indications he 
may have in his mind. I ask of you one thing only, namely, that once 
your will is decided, it shall remain firm and constant, and shall not 
again change in direction. Imagine some one that never has seen a 
mariner's compass, to whom is given an iron rod, with the remark that 
by means of the same he can guide the needle at his will ; if every 
time he saw it going in one direction he should forthwith move the tip 
of the iron rod back again, you know that he would then produce only 
an oscillation, and might thence draw the conclusions most favorable 
to his ignorance or his prejudices. It were worse still if, his self- 
opinionatedness revolting at the sort of doggedness with which the 
needle followed his indications, he should jump from one pole straight 
to the other, for then the needle, resuming of necessity its first position, 
would make him dead-set in his incredulity. You, gentlemen, will 
stand in the same relation toward this young woman as the iron rod 
toward the needle ; it will, therefore, be your fault, not hers, if you see 
her moment vacillate in following the guidance of your will.' 

" I cannot but laugh even now when I recall the little eagerness 
shown to make this last and conclusive experiment : if people had 
shown indifference toward trying the experiment of electrical com- 
munications, they refused to put themselves to the test in this. True, 
one had to begin with an act of faith, a thing always hard to do, and 
then to behave consistently with it, perhaps a more difficult thing 
still. Yet there was never a seance at which seven or eight persons 
at least did not make trial of their will-power, or in which that did 
not happen which I have already described. If a person fixed his 
thoughts fast upon an object, and designated it with the hand or only 
with the eyes, the girl went to that object and touched it or took it in 
hand without hesitating ; but, if a person through want of confidence 
or through timidity ceased to fix his thought, the girl would follow 
the oscillations of the man's mind ; if the thought was turned in 
another direction, in the hope of putting her out, she was seen to 
vacillate, and then to stop short and stand still. A weak will, one 
but little set upon a purpose, was with respect to her what the iron 
rod is with respect to the needle when, being at too great a distance, 
it receives therefrom too slight an influence. 

" Though, when the girl was in the magnetic state, her eyes were 
always shut, and she could not open them, nevertheless, in order to do 
away with all suspicion of trickery or subterfuge on her part, I used, 
whenever anybody desired it, to put a thick bandage over her eyes, a 
thing equally indifferent to her and to myself, and the results of her 
magnetic mobility were the same. . 

" How many persons on whose esteem I had some claim, and how 
many others whom, in view of the respect they enjoyed in the world, 
it would have been an honor to me to convince of the reality of the 


phenomena, nevertheless left my house, not only not believing in what 
they had seen, and what they had themselves performed, but with more 
than a doubt of my good faith ! That I should appear in their eyes, 
if not exactly as a sleight-of-hand trickster, at least as a deluded 
enthusiast, is still a painful thought for me. But how great is the 
power of prejudice, if the purest truth, presented by the being who is 
least interested in making it known, is unable to overthrow its baleful 
prestige ! 

" Though I have made it a law for myself not to name any of the 
persons who for two months came in succession to take part in, and to 
be witnesses of my experiments, still I think I may, without indiscre- 
tion, name one of the more notable. The Baron de Bezenval wrote 
to me to express the desire that I would go on a certain evening with 
my somnambule to the house of Mr. Mitonard, a well-known pharma- 
cist and an able chemist. There was a numerous company present, 
but very few of the people were known to me. After having called 
into play, with my wonted good faith, the electro-magnetic powers of 
Magdeleine, and observed very clearly that the company had little 
faith in their reality, I begged Mr. Mitonard himself for a moment 
kindly to suppose that what I wished to persuade him was true. ' In 
any event,' said I to him, ' there would be some mystery in what I am 
proposing to you ; and though the facts you have witnessed should be 
referable to a different cause from the one I assign, it will still be 
interesting to you, even should you be unable to tell why, to see this 
girl act in accordance with your thoughts alone ; but, give your 
thoughts a fixed direction, and will strongly the execution of them.' 
Mr. Mitonard having agreed to this, made known to a few persons 
what he intended mentally to demand of the somnambule ; and this 
preliminary, which assured me of the fixedness of his thoughts in a 
definite direction, left in my mind no doubt as to the success of the 
experiment. So, having put the young woman in communication 
with him, I left her entirely at his disposal, and withdrew to a corner 
of the room. Mr. Mitonard, after having made her walk about and 
sit down, and take different objects in hand, as well from the mantel- 
piece as from the table, acts which, in view of the promptitude with 
which she carried out his intentions, were to me proof that his thoughts 
were strongly fixed, now stopped, and standing straight before her> 
without making any movement whatever, remained in an attitude of 
deep thought. Instantly the somnambule moves her hand toward one of 
his coat-pockets, thrusts it into the bottom, and takes out three small 
screws that he had put there, and which he had had the intention that 
she should go to the pocket for and take out of it. . . Mr. Mito- 
nard's astonishment, and the assurance everyone had of the execu- 
tion of his thought, for a moment overcame their incredulity ; but 
soon, How is it done ? and That is incredible, and The thing is impossible, 
put a stop, I fancy, to the current of the reflections that each one 
must have been making, for I have not heard of them since. 

" From this narrative it is seen that I did my best to open the eyes 
of educated men of all classes and all conditions, to the interesting 
discovery of animal magnetism ; and my confessed incapacity to 
explain to them all its phenomena ought not, I think, to be to them a 
reason for denying its reality." ' 

'See p. II of the "Suite de Memoires pour servir a. l'Histoire du Mag-netisme 


Let us now consider a few more recent observations : 

" It was (says Lafontaine) at one of the seances held at the house 
of the learned and very incredulous Dr. Bretonneau, that I was so 
fortunate as to see and hear Beranger, our celebrated balladist. Ber- 
anger having witnessed several experiments on thought-transference, 
wished to make some himself, in order, as he said, to convince the 
doctor, who could not mistrust him. After some directions given by 
me, he took the somnambule's hand, telling her to do what he would 
order her mentally. He exerted such will-force in the experiment that 
his other hand caused the table on which it rested to tremble. Soon 
the somnambule was seen to rise, go toward Dr. Bretonneau, take him 
by the hand, and, in spite of his resistance, lead him to Beranger, 
who declared that such had been his mental order." ' 

" At another seance the name of a lady was written on a piece of 
paper ; the paper was passed to me, and immediately the somnambule 
was seen to rise, take a bouquet, and carry it to the lady indicated." 2 

An eminent physiologist, Mr. H. Beaunis, Professor at the Faculty 
of Nancy, said recently : " I have never been able to find in the sub- 
jects I have observed, the wondrous phenomena spoken of by some 
magnetizers. Whenever the suggestion I wanted to produce was 
simply thought, and not expressed in one way or another, it never has 
been carried out I do not wish, however, absolutely to deny those 
facts, in the face of the affirmative testimony given by scientific men ; 
what I can say is, that I never have observed them." 3 

That is, indeed, the language of a man of science ; and if Mr. Beau- 
nis had not found anything of this kind, he would have the right to 
make all reservations with regard to other observers. But chance 
willed that it should be otherwise ; here is what he himself published 
a little later: 

" Mr. Janet's communication gives me an opportunity to mention a 
fact of mental suggestion that I observed a few days ago with Dr. 
Liebeault. The subject is a young man, a very good somnambule, in 
good health, a little timid. He accompanied his cousin to Dr. Lie- 
beault's. The cousin is also a very good somnambule ; she is under 
treatment by hypnotism for a nervous affection. Dr. Liebeault en- 
dormed the subject, and said to him during the sleep : ' On awaking, 
you will do the act that the persons present will mentally order you to 
do.' I then wrote in pencil on a piece of paper these words : ' To kiss 
his cousin.' I showed the paper to Dr. Liebeault and to the few per- 
sons present, asking them to read it with the eyes only, without pro- 
nouncing even with the lips a single one of the words written on it, 
and added : ' When he awakes, you are to think intently upon the act 
he is to perform, but you are not to speak a word or to make any sign 
that might put him on the track.' The subject was then awakened, 
and we awaited the outcome of the. experiment. Shortly after he 

•Lafontaine, " Memoires," vol. i., p. 155. 

2 Lafontaine, " L'Art de Magnetiser," 5th ed., p. 99. Paris, 1886. 

3 H. Beaunis, " Recherches Experimentales sur les Conditions de l'Activite Cere- 
brale," etc., ii., p. 90. Paris, 18S6. 


awoke, we saw him laughing and hiding his face in his hands, and this 
play went on for some time without other result. I then asked him : 
' What is the matter ? ' ' Nothing ! ' ' What are you thinking about ? ' 
(No reply.) ' You know,' I said, ' that you have to do something we 
are thinking on. If you are unwilling to do it, at least tell us what 
we are thinking about.' ' No ! ' ' Then,' said I, ' if you won't tell us 
aloud, whisper it in my ear,' and I went up close to him. ' To kiss 
my cousin,' he said. The first step once taken, the rest of the mental 
suggestion was executed with a good grace. 

" Have we here simple coincidence? That were surprising, indeed. 
Was it possible for the subject, during his sleep, to learn the meaning 
of the words I wrote on the paper, or could he have seen them ? That 
is hardly supposable. Again, I am sure that none of the persons 
present could in anywise have put him in the way of finding out the 
act he was required to perform. Here plainly is something that 
upsets the received theories of brain-function, and, as for myself, till 
lately I was an unbeliever in facts of this kind. To-day I am con- 
vinced that they must not be rejected, successes being, though rare, 
far too numerous to be the result of mere chance ; and from the 
moment that the question of mental suggestion was brought before 
the Society, I have believed that, strange as these phenomena might 
appear, I could contribute my quota." ' 

The transmission of a simple act of the will, /. <?., of a purely me- 
chanical one, is easily performed if the subject manifests the phenom- 
enon of attraction in a high degree. 

" At Nottingham (says Lafontaine) I obtained the phenomenon of 
attraction in a young woman during somnolence, and from the first. 
Dr. Lightfoot, who was very incredulous, brought to a public seance 
a young woman to have her magnetized. In the course of a few 
minutes the girl was put in the state of somnolence ; there was insen- 
sibility. Suddenly I perceived that there was attraction in my hand ; 
I made her rise and walk toward Dr. Altenburow [sic]. While she 
walked I was ten paces behind her. I tried to attract her, and 
speedily she halted ; her body swayed ; then, though the doctor 
called her forward, she turned back toward me. I quit attracting 
her, and immediately she walked forward. When I again attracted 
her the same result followed — she halted, wavered, and turned 
back." 2 

Had Dr. Altenburow been a magnetizer he would have been able 
to thwart this influence by attracting the subject on his side. I made 
that experiment in Paris at the Pitie in 1882. Dr. Dumontpailler 
having endormed his subject, Miss Marie, since so famous, attracted 
her on one side, and her body would incline toward him at the risk of 
her falling out of her chair ; then, after having made a few passes with- 
out contact (in order to enter into rapport, i. e., to have the right to 
act) I attracted her on the other side, and thus we were able to bal- 
ance her as though with cords, each of us attracting in turn. 

1 H. Beaunis, " Un Fait de Suggestion Mentale" {Rev. P/iilos., No. 2, p. 204. 
1886 ; Bulletin de la Soc. de Psych. Physiol., 1 fascicule). 

2 Lafontaine, " L'Art de Magnetiser," 3d ed., p. 90, Paris, 1886. 


The phenomenon of attraction presents many shades of difference • 
these we will throw a little light upon when we treat of action at a 

Let us now consider' purely mental will-transmissions, that is, ex- 
periments made without contact, without gestures and without attrac- 
tion, sometimes even without a look {le regard). 

A tentative demonstration of this delicate phenomenon was made 
in 1837 by Dr. Berna before an academic commission, but it failed 
utterly; at least so says the report of Mr. Dubois of Amiens, a master- 
piece of ill-will. The members of the Commission were unable even 
to find any proof of the existence of somnambulism ! Here is an 
extract from the report, referring to will-action : 

" Third Conclusion. — The magnetizer had to prove to the Commis- 
sion that, simply by the intervention of his will, he had the power of 
restoring, either locally or generally, the somnambule's sensibility. 
But as it was impossible for him to prove to us experimentally that 
he had taken away, done away, the girl's sensibility, it was for that 
very reason impossible for him to prove the restoration of the same ; 
and, besides, it results from the facts by us observed that all the 
attempts made to that end failed completely." 

This experiment is a very difficult one. In fact it involves not 
only a mental suggestion but, at the same time, a trophic ideoplasty, ' 
and it is matter for surprise that Dr. Berna should risk such an experi- 
ment before men that knew nothing about magnetism, and who could 
not distinguish somnambulism from the waking state. The report 
goes on to say : 

" One of the paragraphs of the program had this heading : ' Obe- 
dience to the mental order that the subject cease, in the middle of a 
conversation, from answering, verbally or by signs, a given person.* 
The magnetizer sought to prove to the Commission that the silent 
power of his will could produce that effect. But the facts of the 
seance show that, far from producing these results, his somnambule 
did not hear, even when he had, as yet, no intention of preventing 
her from hearing, and that she appeared (!) to hear again when he 
positively willed her not to hear. So that, according to the assertions 
of this somnambule, the faculty of hearing or not hearing was com- 
pletely in revolt against the magnetizer's will. But, weighing the 
facts carefully, the Commission no more conclude that there was 
revolt than that there was submission ; they found complete inde- 
pendence, and that is all." 8 

As for the phenomenon announced by Dr. Berna, and first described 
by Puysegur, that we will examine in the sequel. For the present we 
would only remark that, despite its apparent simplicity, this experiment 

1 See Appendices II., III. 

2 For details see " Experiences et Considerations a. l'Appui relatives au Magnetisme 
Animal, These presentee et soutenue a la Faculte de Paris," 1834; also " Examen el 
Refutation du Rapport fait par M. Dubois." Paris, 1838. 


is exceedingly difficult. As I have already observed elsewhere, when 
the subject converses with anyone, i. e. f when he is in the state of 
active polyideism, it is very hard to act upon him mentally, first, be- 
cause his " rapport " with the magnetizer is weakened by being shared 
with another person ; secondly, and mainly, because in order that so 
slight an action may be felt, no other action must oppose it. Often- 
times persons engaged in conversation with one another do not hear 
those outside of their circle. The same phenomenon, comparatively, 
occurs in mental speech : several thoughts simultaneously occupy the 
mind of the subject ; hence it is difficult for a new thought to find ad- 

On the whole, I admire the robust faith of the physicians who, 
without knowing the conditions of so fleeting a phenomenon, were 
willing to run the risk of a set-back before a committee of unbelievers. 

Magnetizers nowadays are more prudent. The reader will recall 
what Donato said to me when I asked him if he believed in mental 
suggestion. It seems, however, that he succeeded several times in 
presence of Messrs. Aksakof and Flammarion. First let us hear what 
he tells us himself : 

" One day, at Paris, Mr. Aksakof requested of me a private seance. 
I consented, as I always do. Mr. Aksakof did not apprise me in ad- 
vance of what he wanted to obtain, and I expected that I should have 
to reproduce my ordinary experiments. 

" He required of me something totally different from what I had 
been accustomed to do. If I recall this circumstance, that is because 
it possesses an importance that will be patent to everyone. In fact, 
Mr. Aksakof wanted thought-transmissions — experiments that I never 
had made, whether publicly or in private. A little while after, Mr. 
Flammarion unexpectedly made the same request. I tried the experi- 
ment to gratify a thoroughly scientific curiosity, and all the thought- 
transmissions that were asked for were as successful as I could have 
desired. Had this experiment been habitual, one might have sus- 
pected the existence of an understanding, of a secret telegraphy be- 
tween my subject and myself. But to say nothing of the minute 
precautions taken to prevent all subterfuge, I was asked for some 
new experiments to be performed on the instant. At first I refused to 
make the attempt ; then, uppn iterated insistance, I agreed to try, and 
though they were successful, they were so almost in spite of me. I 
brought no egoism into the thing ; it is without vanity, and even with- 
out pleasure, that I declare my complete success, for I know that it 
will be impossible to content everybody always, and in particular al- 
ways to satisfy myself in this class of phenomena, as fugitive as they 
are eminently curious." 

Mr. Aksakof, in his report of the experiments, which he drew up 
with great care, says : 

" It is known that one of the most widely heralded aphorisms of 
modern physiology is, that psychic activity does not extend beyond the 
periphery of the nerves. If, then* we could prove that man's thought is 


not circumscribed by the limits of the body, but that it can overstep 
them, and act upon another human body at a distance, be transmitted 
to its brain, without any visible or any known process, and be repro- 
duced by speech, movement, or other means, that were a fact of vast 
importance, before which materialistic physiology would have to bend, and 
which psychology and philosophy would have to take possession of, 
in order to give fresh support and a new development to their meta- 
physical speculations." 

Mr. Aksakof is mistaken. There is no relation between mental 
suggestion and the question of materialism or spiritualism. Mental 
suggestion is a fact of action, not of the recondite nature of things, 
whereof we know nothing. Action at a distance is not a character 
peculiar to immaterial things — if immaterial things there be, and of 
such I know nothing. Electricity did not become a " spiritual " thing 
when the telegraph was invented. 

"November 17, 1878, I went to see Mr. Donato at 2 o'clock, and 
after a few minutes' conversation we set to work. 

" First Experiment. — I asked Mr. Donato to endorm Miss Lucile. 
He placed an armchair between the two windows of the room, a few 
paces from the wall ; Miss Lucile seated herself in it, and within a 
few moments was endormed. We station ourselves at the lower end 
of the room, facing Miss Lucile. Then I take from my pocket a 
memorandum book and from it take a card, which I hand to Mr. 
Donato, requesting him to make Miss Lucile, solely by fixing his eyes 
upon her, to execute the movement indicated on the card. The 
writing on the card was : 'Etendre le bras gauche' (extend the left arm). 
Mr. Donato takes the card, rises, stands alongside of me without a 
motion, and gazes on Miss Lucile. Instantly her left arm begins to 
stir, slowly quits the body, is held out horizontally, and so remains 
till Mr. Donato puts it back in the normal position. 

" Second Experiment. — I hand to Mr. Donato a white handkerchief 
that I had brought with me, and ask him to cover with it the eyes 
and the head of Miss Lucile. The borders of the handkerchief reach 
her shoulders. We take our places again. I hand to Mr. Donato in 
perfect silence a second card on which is written : 'Lever le bras droit 
verticalement ' (raise the right arm vertically). Mr. Donato fixes his 
gaze on the motionless body of Miss Lucile, and soon her right arm, 
docile to the thought that directs it, executes the desired movement, 
always slowly, gently, stopping immediately when Mr. Donato turns 
his head to put a question to me with a look. 

" I congratulated Mr. Donato on the success and asked him to re- 
move the handkerchief from Miss Lucile's head and awaken her, so as 
to prevent all fatigue. [It would have been better to let her sleep 

" Third Experiment. — After ten minutes' conversation, Miss Lucile is 
endormed, and her head again covered with the handkerchief. We 
take our places and I hand to Mr. Donato a third card on which I had 
written : ' Mettre les deux mains sur la tete' (put both hands on the 
head), and ask him this time to operate, not from in front of the sub- 
ject, but from behind her. Mr. Donato expressed some doubts whether 
he would succeed under these conditions ; nevertheless, he stood be- 
hind Miss Lucile and made the attempt, but in vain. That did not 


surprise me, the general rapports of polarity between the operator 
and his subject having been reversed." 

We must not call in an unknown cause. Has the spiritual soul, 
then, a right side and a left ? Besides, in acting from a great distance 
one cannot know what is the position of the subject. With regard to 
this check Donato writes : 

"Without discussing the question of polarity, I would remark that 
my objection was not based on that phenomenon. The objection 
simply was that, stationed behind Miss Lucile, I could not through 
her body give action {actionner) to her arms, placed out of sight for me. 
It is as though a sharpshooter were required to hit a mark behind a 
wall, and at which, therefore, he could not take aim." 

From this remark it follows that Mr. Donato believes rather in 
direct action upon the member aimed at than in action through the 
brain as an intermediary. I cannot say that the theory is erroneous, 
for I myself have witnessed the excitative action of the eye {regard). 
But even should light-rays reflected from the eye of the operator, or 
should any other cause unknown, by irritating the organ directly, 
facilitate the local action, still they are not absolutely necessary, and 
the reader will remember that most of my experiments with Mr. 
M a 1 were made without the physical action of the eye, and with- 
out gestures. But to return to Mr. Aksakof : 

" At this moment I came up to Mr. Donato, and a remarkable phe- 
nomenon occurred. Wishing to ask Mr. Donato to concentrate his 
thought upon the occiput of Miss Lucile, my hand, while I was stand- 
ing behind her, was inadvertently brought toward her back to point 
out the place I spoke of. As soon as my hand had come near her 
back (it was still some inches away from it) the body of the subject 
bent forward with a sudden movement. Thus did I obtain, in a way 
as unexpected as it was conclusive, confirmation of the phenomenon 
of polarity, or of attraction and repulsion, which I had already ob- 
served in the public exhibition." 

This phenomenon proves nothing in favor of polarity. Any person 
not in rapport who should touch her with either left hand or right, or 
who should bring his hand near to her, would have obtained the same 
repulsional effect. The subject recoils because nearness of one not 
in rapport causes her discomfort. The phenomenon proves only that 
what is called magnetic rapport does not consist solely in concentra- 
tion of attention, but rests also on a physical basis. 

We might say that the act of the magnetizer sets up in the molecu- 
lar motions of the subject's nerves a special tonality in accord with 
that of the magnetizer, and that then a person who does not possess 

1 Doubtless " Mr. M a" (AT. M d) is an error of the printer or a lapsus of 

the author's pen. We know Mrs. M a, but who is Mr, A. ? A little further on 

a probable misprint of " Mr. L" is changed to " Miss L." — Translator. 


this — that is to say, who presents a different tonality — makes upon 
the subject a disagreeable impression. In that case it suffices to make 
a few passes foment the point in question, in order to have the right 
to touch it. 

I have observed one case, and only one, among hundreds, where 
the magnetizer himself durst not touch the subject without giving the 
latter a disagreeable shock. I was much surprised, and sought to 
verify the fact. The cause of the phenomenon was, that the mag- 
netizer always endormed his subject from a distance of several paces, 
never beginning with contact or with passes made anear. 

That would not have sufficed with other subjects, but it sufficed 
with Miss L., who was remarkably impressionable. I myself endormed 
her by touching her hands and by making passes anear, and the gen- 
eral hyperesthesia was not manifested. I communicated to her a 
dynamic state like that of my own body. (The terms I employ here 
I am unable to define more accurately, but the thing seems to me to 
be not improbable.) Anyhow, the attention [of the subject] does not 
alone suffice to explain this phenomenon, for it may take place with- 
out the possibility of the subject's guessing who touched him, 1 and 
there are other phenomena of this kind that attention cannot explain. 

" ' If you will let me act with my hands,' said Mr. Donato to me, ' I 
am confident I shall succeed.' ' Act, then,' I replied. And, indeed, as 
soon as he (still behind the subject) brought his hands near Miss 
Lucile's shoulders, making a few passes toward the elbows, the arms 
began to move upward and both hands were laid upon the head." 

But, then, there was no longer mental suggestion, only the effect of 
magnetic attraction. 

" Fourth Experiment. — Miss Lucile still endormed, with the hand- 
kerchief over her head. I give to Mr. D. (Donato) a fourth card, on 
which I had written this : ' Reunir les deux mains co?nme en priant' (join 
the two hands as in prayer), and I take a place on a sofa to the left 
of Miss L., the better to observe all Mr. D.'s movements. He stood 
motionless five or six paces away from Miss L., facing her, and with 
his eyes fixed upon her. Her hands, which had been restored to their 
natural posture by Mr. D., were raised slowly, were brought together, 
even the fingers were crossed — in a word, took the pose of prayer. 
The experiment performed, Mr. D. removed the handkerchief and 
awakened the subject. 

"Fifth Experiment. — After resting ten minutes, Miss L. again takes 
her seat in the armchair, and Mr. D. endorms her anew. I pass to 
Mr. D. a fifth card : ' Faire un nceud avec un mouchoir ' (make a knot 
on a handkerchief). 'See how we are going to work this time,' 
said Mr. Donato, and stationing himself a little behind Miss L., he 
stretched his handout above her head, but without touching her. She 
rose from her chair. Mr. D. directed her toward the table on which, 
unbeknown to her, the handkerchief had been laid by me. Miss L., 
obeying the attraction of the hand, approaches the table, Mr. D. 

1 See the experiments mentioned on p. 23. 


approaching also, while keeping still at the same relative distance 
behind Miss L. I was alongside Mr. D., and we both followed, with 
increasing interest, the movements of the subject. Little by little 
her hands steadily approach the handkerchief, take it by one cor- 
ner, fold it, turn the ends over each other, and, lo ! the knot is made. 
Mr. D. himself was amazed. This time there was no simple effect of 
will, but a thought transmitted and executed. 

" Sixth and last Experiment. — It was almost useless to continue ; but 
as Mr. Donato insisted, I once more passed to him a card. On it was 
written : ' Toucher Voreille gauche avec la main droite ' (touch the left 
ear with the right hand). Without moving a muscle and without a 
sound, Mr. D. fixes his gaze on Miss L., a few paces distant. I was 
alongside of Miss L. and nearly facing Mr. D., so as to observe his 
slightest movements. Soon the subject's right arm leaves her side and 
executes the order in three successive movements ; first it is brought 
toward her breast, then moves toward the ear, and up to it, finally 
one finger is extended and touches the ear." 

No details are given as to the state in which Miss Lucile was dur- 
ing these experiments. But from the record it would appear that she 
neither spoke nor acted of herself ; hence she was not in active 

On the other hand her state was not one of profound paralytic 
aideia, for she did not fall inert. It was therefore an intermediate 

I take occasion from Mr. Aksakof's excellent account to raise the 
following question : 

Must one distinguish between will transmission and thought trans- 
mission ? 

In the quotations just given it has been impossible for me to do so. 
I was compelled to treat the two phenomena as one. But are they in 
fact distinct ? Can we transmit and cause the execution of an act of 
the will without at the same time transmitting a thought or a number 
of thoughts ? 

The question is a very complex one. Take for example Mr. Don- 
ato's experiment last cited. Miss Lucile was to touch her left ear with 
her right hand. Had this movement been executed by attraction 
through gestures, as in the first portion of the fifth experiment, there 
would have been no communication of thought, but no more would 
there have been transmission of will. The act would have been purely 
physical, even though we should grant that somnambulic attraction is 
not a direct but a reflex fact. But as this experiment was made at a 
distance and without gestures, Miss Lucile must needs have divined 
what was required of her, the more because though the movement 
was executed slowly, it was, nevertheless, executed well, and without 
hesitation, not after the manner of one who gropes in the dark. Only 
one influence from without was possible, that of the eye of the opera- 
tor. We know that a fixed, regard directed upon a portion of the 


hypersesthesic body calls forth in certain subjects and in certain states 
a local action that now is inhibitive (insensibility and contracture), 
■anon dynamogenic (excitative). Consequently, Mr. Donato could, by 
fixing his gaze upon his subject's right arm, produce therein an exci- 
tation, an agitation, in short an impression of whatever sort, which, 
being felt by Miss Lucile, would lead her to guess that she had to 
perform a movement with the arm. But there the action of the eye 
ends. Mr. Donato could not by a look cause the arm to extend itself, 
nor could he with the eye indicate the movement ordered. Conse- 
quently we must concede the fact of transmission. But transmission 
of what ? Of will or of a thought ? A thought was not of itself 
enough. Were the thought alone transmitted, the subject would have 
the mental image of an ear touched by a finger, just as she might 
have the image of a bird flying, of the ace of spades, etc. She must 
needs at the same time feel desire, impulsion to realize that image. On 
the other hand, is the impulsion by itself sufficient ? Yes ! There is 
no doubt that subjects can feel by transmission, by sympathism, by 
mental imitation, an impulse to perform a movement, without knowing 
either why they do it, or what it means, or what it will result in. In 
such a case there is simple will-transmission. It is only the mental 
impulse, the tendency, the volition, that is transmitted. And I even 
believe that this is what occurs oftenest. Were the subject to be 
asked, say at the beginning of the fifth experiment, she could not tell 
what she wanted to do ; but, little by little, driven by impulses coming 
one after another, she finally performs the action willed, perhaps with- 
out even knowing what she does (for the monoideic state is unfavor- 
able to a generalization of acts or of ideas). Suppose, for example, 
the order is to take some object and give it to somebody ; the subject 
will do what is required, and then, if you ask him what he has done, 
he will say that he had to take up something and carry it to somebody, 
knowing neither to whom, nor wherefore. If, in such a case there is 
transmission of thought, it belongs among the unconscious phenomena 
of secondary rank, and only the will is perceived under the form of 
unconscious tendencies of prime rank. 

In short, though the two transmissions may be manifested sepa- 
rately, usually they are combined. 

And is transmission of sensations a necessary concomitant in these 
two phenomena ? 

Not a necessary one, but useful. 

I have many a time, for example, observed (though' in most in- 
stances this phenomenon lags a little) that a strong action of will 
directly produces in the subject sensations analogous to itself. An 
act of will that is strongly affirmative or strongly negative is always 
accompanied by certain agreeable sensations in the first case, disa- 
greeable in the second, to which are added also sensations resulting 


from inchoate gestures of affirmation or negation. The former are 
by their nature attractional, the latter repulsional. Now, the subject 
often feels these sensations. You mentally exclaim to him : " No, 
not that ! " and he halts or he retreats. 

We will bring this chapter to a close with two interesting observa- 
tions by Dr. Perronet. There will be found direct will-transmission 
combined with facts of mental suggestion of ideas. I invite the 
attention of the reader particularly to the details of an apparent 
fihrenhypTiotic action ; they will help us to appreciate in the next 
chapter Braid's illusions. 

First Observation. — "On the night of May 2-3, 1883, I was called to 
attend a person of eighteen, years. Nervous, impressionable, frivol- 
ous, she had been angered during the day. I found her stark — 
absolutely rigid and insensible. I applied my fingers over the eye- 
balls ; first there was a slight tremulation, and then the lids were 
opened. The members now became limp, did not retain the postures 
given them ; if raised and let go they fell inert. 

" After a brief period of waking, during which the subject spoke a 
few words consciously, the rigidity returned ; application of the fin- 
gers over the eyeballs did not overcome it till after a morphine injec- 
tion ; the members retained the postures given to them. 

" Then were performed, at my order, the most varied movements : 
applying the fingers to the right side of the cranium I obtained the 
movements ordered for the members of the left side, and vice versa. 

" This I attributed to the decussation, in the pyramids, of the 
nerve-tubes coming from the cerebral hemispheres, in virtue of 
which a nerve-tube belonging to the left hemisphere of the brain 
passes to the right in the medullary fasciculus, and consequently 
controls movements and sensations in the right side of the body. 
Of course, the inverse, is true of the nerve-tubes that have their rise 
in the right hemisphere of the brain. 

" I made the subject talk by touching the left half of the cranium ; 
in so doing I was governed by the idea that the third left frontal 
convolution is the seat of articulate speech. When, being under 
the influence of this idea, I touched the right half of the cranium, I 
obtained no response, for the reason that, in my innermost thoughts, 
subjectively, theoretically, I expected none. But once I mistook one 
side for the other, and the subject made answer to me though my 
finger was placed on the right side of the cranium, to wit, the side 
opposite to* that of the convolution that Broca assigns as the seat of 
articulate speech. 

" Speech ceased as soon as I recognized my error. I inferred 
directly that my thought alone was active in the producing of these 
phenomena, and that to apply my fingers at such or such a point of 
the cranium to obtain this or that result, was an act of supereroga- 

" Having, then, obtained the shutting or opening of the eyelids, 
pouting, smiling, etc., by placing my fingers on the muscles that 
govern those actions, it occurred to me to avoid all contact with the 
subject, and, stationing myself several yards away, to ask of her a 
repetition of the acts and speeches before obtained by the aid of digi- 
tal contact. The subject obeyed all my orders orally expressed. 


" I then bethought me of communicating my orders to her mentally; 
I was much surprised to find them executed punctually. And I was 
more surprised when, on requesting the persons present to take my 
hand and think in turn of some act, that act was performed by the 
subject automatically. 

" A whiff of illuminism and of spiritism at that moment, I confess, 
entered my brain, so I thought it best to let my ideas upon this ques- 
tion lie over for a year before I should give them to the public. 

" At last, after having prolonged the experiment for four hours, I 
awakened the subject by blowing into her eyes ; the awaking was in- 
stantaneous, and left no consciousness of the phenomena that arose 
or were produced during the crisis. 

" Second Observation. — July 4, 1883, MissX., hysterical, chloransemic, 
aged 21 years, who had witnessed the facts contained in the foregoing 
observation, and whom I was treating for lymphangitis of the arm, 
had just taken a pretty strong dose of syrup of codein. 

"At this juncture I arrived and this is what I observed : Eyes 
surrounded by dark rings, drooping upper eyelids, contraction of the 
pupils, laughing and crying without cause, clonic agitation of the 
members ; then after three or four minutes a strange stare, complete 
rigidity and insensibility. The rigidity disappeared after application 
of the fingers over the eyeballs (phenomenon of hypnotization), and 
was succeeded by a limpness of the muscles which allowed postures 
imposed on the members to be retained. 

" When I press upon one eye only, the rigidity is retained in the 
corresponding half of the body, and the members of the other half 
take and keep all the poses determined by my impulsion ; the subject 
replies to all my questions if the rigidity disappears in the right side 
of the body, consequently, if I have compressed the left eye ; when 
pressure is on the right eye alone I obtain no reply. 

" Laughter, tears, walking, singing, calculating, statuesque poses, 
and other phenomena were produced at my order with mathematical 

" The subject cannot play the piano ; I made her play on that in- 
strument airs from " L'Ombre," " Le Chalet," " La Traviata," etc. 
To obtain this result I placed my left hand on the left side of the 
cranium, played the airs with my right, and ordered the subject to 
repeat them ; the whole was reproduced note for note. I had the same 
success when I asked for an air already played in a different key ; to 
this end it sufficed for me to give the first note in the new key. 

" My hand being applied to the right side of the cranium with the 
preconceived idea that the seat of articulate speech is situate in the 
left cerebral hemisphere, the subject was deaf to all excitation, 
whether verbal or musical. In the midst of a series of quadruple 
quavers, I suddenly broke the contact of my hand with the left half 
of the cranium ; then the fingers of the cataleptic pianist stood sus- 
pended over the next note, which was sounded when I gave the order 
to do so by putting my hand on that side of the cranium again ; the 
remainder of the piece was played without any modification. 

" Finally, making an effort of will to free myself from the idea that 
such or such contact is necessary to obtain such or such act, I asked 
her in an imperative tone, from a distance, to go on with an air she 
had begun to play. At the end of the piece she stopped and was like 
a statue, fixed in the pose necessary for sounding the last note. ' You 


are going to play Quand je monte Cocotte,' I said, 'till I tell you to 
stop ; put a little expression into it, a little soul.' 

" Then came some horrible music ; she repeated a couplet over and 
over. All that the company present could do to drag her away from 
the piano and to put a stop to the air I had suggested to her was 
futile. Like the broom-handle Lucian of Samosata tells of, which 
being set to work by a magic word, could never cease working till 
another more or less cabalistic phrase was spoken, the subject played, 
played, played. 

"At last, judging that the experiment had been carried far enough, 
I gazed sternly at her, with strong, decisive will to put a stop to the 
music : I gave forth no sound, made no movement ; I was several 
paces back of the cataleptic subject. As soon as my will was clear 
in my consciousness, without any need of word or sign, the subject 
came to a full stop in the very middle of a musical phrase. The like 
of this may be seen in the phenomenon of supersaturation ; the slight- 
est disturbance in the supersaturated solution produces sudden crys- 

" ' What is the name of the state in which you are ? ' ' Ca — ca — ca — 
ta — lepsy.' (N. B. — When awake she does not know what 'catalepsy' 
means.) ' Is it anything serious? ' ' No ! ' ' Can any one put you in 
that state?' 'No; only the doctor.' 'What is this power that he 
has over you?' 'Something that I do not understand.' ' Explain ! ' 
' I don't know what ; it is the force of the blood.' 

" I tell her to say how many persons are present, and to give their 
names. Having myself reckoned the number amiss, she gave the 
number I had in my mind ; as soon as I had rectified my error she 
gave the correct number. 

" A lady having come to ask money of her, I requested the cata- 
leptic to give her some. She went straight to the piece of furniture in 
which she had been accustomed to keep her purse ; not finding it she 
was worried ; when some one whispered in my ear that it was on the 
piano, the subject knew it as quickly as I did, and suddenly changing 
her expression of ill-humor to an air of satisfaction, she ran to the 
piano, took the purse, and took out ten francs to give to her creditor. 
I begged the latter to call the next day, for I did not wish to make use 
of a scientific experiment to force the subject to pay automatically ; 
I gave the lady to understand that it was hardly right for her to pay 
herself. She gave the money back, but my experiment was made. I 
awakened the subject by blowing on her eyes. 

" From the foregoing facts I inferred that the cataleptic traced ' her 
answers on -my thoughts rather than on the reality ; that she was 
more impressed by the psychic phenomena of my brain than by those 
of the outer world ; in short, that whether she perceived aright or amiss, 
she was quite insensible to all excitations save such as came from me ; 
that she was as it were an extension of my own consciousness. 

" I observed this subject many times. In the state of catalepsy she 
was ever deaf to all impulsions not given to her by me directly or by 
me delegated to others ; her personality was lost in mine, as the per- 
sonality of the Fakir is lost in Nirvana. 

" Of all the subjects observed by me none presented this disposi- 
tion in anything like the same degree." 2 

1 Calquait — As when one copies outlines on tracing-paper. — Translator. 
s Claude Perronet, " Du Magnetisme Animal." Louis-le-Saunier, 1884. 


Mr. Perronet's experiments, which were so successful, were made 
on cataleptics. Those of Dr. Puel, too, were on cataleptics. Those of 
Drs. Comet and Despine were likewise made on cataleptics. Finally, 
we may remark that it was in catalepsy that Dr. Petetin came un- 
awares upon the phenomenon of mental suggestion. It would seem 
therefore that there is some sort of relation between catalepsy and 
suggestion. What is it ? 

As we have seen, the psychic state most favorable to mental sug- 
gestion is monoideism. Now catalepsy, as an outward phenomenon, is 
simply a muscular manifestation of a monoideic tendency in the brain. 
The subject keeps the one selfsame position, for he is capable of but 
one selfsame thought at a time. The idea of a given attitude domi- 
nates his brain without limitation. "There it is, there it remains." 



WE jind very few experiments of the kind here referred to in the 
history of magnetism ; not only because they seldom were 
successful, but because, thanks to Deleuze's influence, all experiments 
whatever were banned — that is to say, all that were foreign to the 
question of treatment. Aubin Gauthier, 1 who wrote a sort of ency- 
clopaedia of magnetism, says upon this matter : 

" There are somnr.mbules that hear their magnetizer without any 
need on his part to address them in words ; indeed, there are many 
such. As a rule, a somnambule that has had rapport only with one 
magnetizer, understands him without his speaking. One may test this, 
not for the sake of the experiment, but because there are cases in 
wnich this faculty is very useful. If it is feared- that the somnambule 
will tell, in presence of a third person, things that the latter ought not 
to know, he is mentally made to understand that he must keep silence, 
just as in ordinary life one speaks with the eyes or with a gesture. 
So, too, if it is feared lest in the course of a consultation given to a 
patient whose case affords no hope of a recovery, the somnambule 
may be indiscreet ; again, the will is employed, and the somnambule 
understands, unbeknown to the patient. Otherwise, this means is not 
to be used without necessity." 

This humanitarian purpose was predominant, as has already been 
observed, in the first two periods of magnetism — that of Mesmer's 
" baquet " 2 and that of somnambulism. Puysegur also forbade use- 

1 A. Gauthier, " Traite Pratique du Magnetisme et du Somnambulisme," p. 594. 
Paris, 1845. 

2 See Humboldt Library, No. 113, "Hypnotism," p. 6. 


less experiments ; but enchanted as he was by the mental sensibility 
of his first somnambules, Victor, Magdeleine, and a few others, he 
authorized the experiment mentioned by Gauthier, and in his en- 
thusiasm even maintained that we can always make the somnambule 
cease talking and that we can make or break, mentally, the rapport 
of a somnambule with a third person. I will quote in full the passage 
relating to this. 

Puysegur recognizes three principal characters as distinctive of 
complete somnambulism : 

1. " Isolation " (rapport with the magnetizer exclusively, insensi- 
bility to all the subject's surroundings) ; 

2. " Concentration " (meaning that all the activity of the subject is 
concentrated inwardly). Puysegur knew nothing of spontaneously 
active magnetic somnambulism ; ' 

3. "Magnetic mobility" (mental suggestibility and attraction at a 

" The third character of complete somnambulism (he writes) is 
magnetic mobility ; that is to say, a patient in this state is always 
more or less sensible to the very thought of the magnetizer. I say 
' more or less,' because there are patients whose muscles sometimes 
grow numb in somnambulism, so that they cannot stir save with 
much difficulty ; and there are others whose drowsy concentration is 
so profound that it is no easy thing to rouse them. Hence, you will 
not make them all alike get up, walk, follow you, sit down, take a cup 
off a table, or accept what you may offer them mentally and by the 
simple act of your will. But what you will always succeed in, without 
any need of touching them or speaking to them, is the putting them 
in rapport with persons that you wish them to hear. The success of 
experiments of this kind, depe7ids, however, solely on the magnetizers, not 
at all on the magnetized, who, like compass-needles on their pivot, are 
quite indifferent as to what directions you may wish to give them, 
provided the influence is good." 2 

How could so good an observer speak with so much confidence of 
so delicate a. phenomenon ? 

For many reasons : 

1. It appears, whatever the hypnotizers may say, that he was not 
mistaken in saying there are differences between individuals. Not 
only is it conceivable that some persons may not be able to concentrate 
their thought (this phenomenon may be easily observed by making an 
experiment in Cumberlandism); but further, it seems to result from the 
differences in the character of the somnambulism obtained by different 

1 Magnetic sleep with rapport and spontaneously active is rather rare. It mani- 
fests itself only when the subject is magnetized in spite of himself, or when there is a 
somnambulic awaking out of a state of profound aideia, the awaking being occasioned 
by a thought dominant in the waking state. 

s A. M. J. Chasnet de Puysegur, " Recherches, Experiences, et Observations 
Physiologiques," etc., p. 45. Paris,- 1811. 


observers, that the psycho-physiological individuality of the oper- 
ator counts here for something. I know, for instance, a person 
who, without willing it, obtains nearly always paralysis-phenomena ; 
others who bring about hypersesthesia mostly ; others who cannot 
obtain more than a slight drowsiness ; others who always determine 
a disagreeable state — a fact that for a long time surprised me ; for 
in all my observations, except the cases of two or three epileptics 
and one or two hysteriacs, I have always obtained a state highly 
agreeable to the subjects ; indeed, this it is that has brought to me so 
many amateurs, so that I never have needed to seek for subjects. In 
a word, there are personal differences, and if I have not succeeded in 
repeating Puysegur's experiment, or anything like it, that may be due 
to an individual difference or to some irregularity inherent in my way 
of experiment in that particular case. 

I do not wish to exaggerate the importance of these observations. 
The individuality of the subject is, after all, the principal cause, the 
most obvious cause, of these phenomena. 

A person that is distinctly sensitive to the hypnoscope can be hyp- 
notized by anyone. 1 Differences begin to appear only in the vital 
action, and are seldom sharply defined. 

2. As we have seen, Puysegur knew nothing about active somnam- 
bulism, that is to say, a polyideic state that usually withstands mental 
action. Hence he saw no obstacles except such as are presented by 
too profound a state, with drowsiness, torpor, rigidity ; that is, the 
state of paralytic or tetanic aideia, which, when it has a strong hold, 
also withstands mental action. Consequently, he acted only on states 
more or less akin to monoideism. 

3. Finally, we must not forget that he speaks only of complete 
somnambulism with rapport, and that it was his luck from the begin- 
ning to find excellent subjects : that may have increased his confi- 

However that may be, this fact has been noticed by an excellent 
observer, whose book recommends itself to the inventors of hypnotic 

" About the same time (says Dr. Despine, Sr.) there arrived at Aix 
the Count Paul D., a superior officer of the Russian Imperial Guard, 
who, having heard of my patients, showed a desire to see them. He 
had previously given some attention to magnetism in company with 
Dr. Pizzati, who wrote to me from Florence, introducing him. 
Though he no longer made magnetism the subject of his studies, he 
remembered his former great magnetic power and spoke of it with 
some satisfaction. He was curious to know to what extent he still 
possessed it. I cheerfully complied with Mr. D's. wishes, and, with 
the consent of my two patients and of their family, I put them in 

1 Yet I have been assured that a hospital doctor in Paris never could obtain sleep, 
even in patients that were exceedingly easy to endorm. 


rapport. From the first I was amazed at the enormous magnetic 
power he exercised over them. His gaze alone ' petrified ' Estelle, 
and a few quieting passes round about the prsecordial and epigastric 
region, at the distance of five or six inches, were enough to relieve 
Miss Isaure of her terrible suffering, the seat of which was the pneu- 
mogastric nervous system, and which for many months never ceased, 
save during the state of catalepsy or of ecstasy, or perhaps during 
her natural sleep, which was rare and nearly always troubled by 
dreams and visions. What astonished me most in the Count D.'s 
magnetic power over the latter patient was, that he was able by sole 
act of his will to suspend in her the magnetic rapports already existing 
between her and me, when he wished to act upon her by the will alone, 
and to re-establish them at his own will or the will of others. I had 
been Miss Isaure's physician from the time of her coming to Aix, and 
I seemed to have her entire confidence, but Mr. D. soon deprived me 
of that, and so the case stood till he went away. Whence this power 
of sympathy ? I know not, but the fact nevertheless remains. I 
have seen it repeated many times, and Miss Isaure heard me or heard 
me not according to Mr. D.'s good pleasure. And quite certainly this 
could only have been produced by act of the said Mr. D.'s will, for he 
did not touch her either directly or indirectly. I have seen the 
phenomenon again and again. He and I even communicated in 
writing, to remove from the minds of those present all suspicion that 
perhaps the patient, albeit her eyes were completely shut during the 
whole time of her crises, could hear us, could know by signs, and so 
conform out of complaisance to the will of her magnetizer. The 
Count D., furthermore, varied the phenomena absolutely according to 
my good pleasure. He spoke not a word, yet when I handed to him 
my orders in writing, he was able to have them executed by the 
patient at the moment willed and fixed by me then a?id there j and if I 
changed the orders, after first giving them in another shape, Miss 
Isaure executed them, not as first given, but as given just a moment 
before. Mr. D. had told me of this feat, saying he had performed it 
often already. I was very curious to see how he would carry out such 
a program, for I did not believe it possible then, and even still I 
have a difficulty in believing that the thing can be done, in spite of 
all that the magnetizers have said about it, of all that has been 
written about will-force, and all that I myself have witnessed time 
and time again. 

" From all this the reader will naturally infer that I brought to the 
experiment all possible attention, to see clearly what should take 
place so as to discover the law that governed it, and to make such in- 
ductions as would help me to appreciate justly the cause of the modi- 
fications to which it unquestionably must be exposed in the various 
somnambules. I was therefore all eyes and all ears, and no one could 
give closer attention than I to the gestures, the looks, the slightest 
movements of both. And yet, beyond the possibility of doubt, and, 
I confess, much to my surprise, I saw Mr. D. do away the rapports 
subsisting between the patient and me ; I saw these rapports, these 
sympathies, renewed, again suspended, and so on, and that by a 
single act of his will — or perhaps, if you will, by a fascination the 
nature and modus operandi of which were absolutely unknown to me 
then as they still are — and it constantly produced its effect when my 
thought or the thought of any other person in the company passed [to 


the patient] by the will of Mr. D. This phenomenon cannot be ex- 
plained as many other phenomena can, by the mere reading of the mag- 
netized s thought, done by a magnetized subject (a phenomenon that is 
much more common than people think, in the nervous state of 
crisiacs, whether magnetic or spontaneous). Indeed, to produce it, not 
only must Miss Isaure have been able to read the thought of the per- 
son acting upon her, but, furthermore, the magnetizer must have by 
his will paralyzed the organ which maintained the neuropathic rap- 
port between her and me, and all this must have been simultaneous. 
Without the concurrence of these two conditions the solution of the 
problem would have been incomplete. However that may be and 
whether the explanation here given of the phenomenon is satisfac- 
tory or not [plainly, it is not a sufficient one], it is a positive fact 
that so soon as the will of Mr. D. had re-established the rapport 
between Miss Isaure and me, if I said to her, 'But why, madam, did 
you not answer me when I addressed you a while ago ? ' she replied 
at once, ' For a very simple reason, sir ; you did not ask me any 
question.' " 1 

Thus Puysegur observed correctly, and the phenomenon is possible. 
We may suppose that a concentration of the will on the part of Mr. 
D., directed toward Miss Isaure, in the first place diverted the exist- 
ing rapport with Mr. Despine toward Mr. D., that is to say, toward a 
more powerful dynamic center, and then by successive efforts communi- 
cated to the subject such impulsions as Mr. D. willed. The staying 
of these efforts, the displacement of this center, freeing the nervous 
system of Miss Isaure from its leading-strings, re-established the rap- 
port with her habitual magnetizer. It is as if two telegraphers were 
to snatch from each other the conducting wire upon which transmis- 
sion depends. 

Imagine a highly sensitive galvanometer connected separately with 
two coils, A and B, of heavy wire ; both have a magnetic core, but 
the magnet of coil A is weak, while the magnet of coil B is strong. 
If these magnets are at rest there is no action, and the galvanometer 
will not stir. But the first, by a series of displacements, induces in 
its coil a series of alternating currents. The galvanometer needle 
oscillates, and it will be in a constant state of wavering so long as 
the movement of the weak magnet in coil A continues. But now the 
other begins to vibrate ; its displacement changes the molecular ten- 
sion of the spirals of coil B ; currents are produced, and these, being 
stronger than those others, determine a more considerable re-action of 
the needle and predominate over the influence of coil A, causing the 
galvanometer needle to go through all the corresponding movements. 
The very sensitive galvanometer represents the subject, and the two 
coils correspond to the two magnetizers, in whom the intense interior 
action produces intense molecular vibrations, which radiate outward. 

1 Dr. Despine, pere, " Observations de Medecine Pratique," p. 176 et seq. 
Annecy, 1838. 


The wires — here the analogy is less patent — represent the rapport. 
Cut the wires, and the galvanometer is stock-still. 

It is much the same in the magnetic action, a5; it is called, of a 
living organism. If rapport is not set up by preparatory magnetiza- 
tion, or at least by prior magnetizations, I believe mental action 
will have no result. 

There are some facts that seem opposed to this view. Thought- 
transference has sometimes been obtained with a few persons that 
never were magnetized. But when we examine the facts closely, we 
find that in the first place the subject was always advised beforehand, 
that always his expectant attention placed him in a more or less abnor- 
mal state, and that always, prior to obtaining any result whatever, the 
operator was obliged to concentrate his thought with the purpose of 
influencing the subject — and that is pretty nearly equivalent to a mag- 

Hence I believe that Despine observed the phenomenon well ; there 
is no mental suggestion without magnetic rapport. He observed that Mr, 
D., if he would act on Miss Isaure, had first to break the rapport with 
Mr. Despine, and then establish his own. That observation no doubt 
seemed to the reader insignificant, yet it possesses an importance of 
its own. 

" But," it will be said, " it all amounts to the same thing, for Mr. D. 
acted in the same way in order to set up rapport as he did to make 
the subject obey an order." 

Yes and no ! He acted in the same way, for he acted mentally, but 
the action is not altogether the same. To establish rapport you call 
the subject mentally, you attract him, that is, you draw his attention 
by an effort, which, causing the particles of — I know not what — to 
vibrate, is propagated and reaches a sufficiently sensitive galvanome- 
ter ; while to carry out an order, you represent it to yourself inwardly 
and you press [on pousse) the subject on, mentally, in the direction you 
will, striving the while, above all, to think clearly, of what you want to 
obtain. The' difference is much like the difference between the 
" hallo-o " you shout into a telephone to attract the attention of 
whomever'you wish to address, and the tones of ordinary conversa- 

" Yet there is a mental action in both cases ; and if there is no 
mental action without rapport, it must also be admitted that there is 
no rapport without mental action." 

Yes ; there is rapport without mental action. The very presence 
of an organism endowed with a high nerve-tension, a well-balanced 
vitality of the molecular movements, can act physically on a subject 
eager for such a vital energy, and may prepare the way for a purposed 
mental action. Catalytic actions of this sort are seen even in inor- 
ganic chemistry. 


The vicious circle, then, is apparent only. It is due simply to the 
imperfectness of our speech. 

Certain German psychologists who love useless questions, have 
worried much, thinking how it is that a sleeping man may be 
awakened by an impression, while he is insensible to impressions. 

Of course if you define sleep " a non-impressionable state," you 
never will understand awakening by an impression. 

Fortunately, all things are relative. The sleeper does not perceive, 
but his unconscious does perceive perfectly well, and there is no 
boundary between the conscious and the unconscious. 

In a state of profound aideia mental suggestion fails ; but if the 
state be less profound, it succeeds in doing one thing, to wit, in 
nudging ' the subject and producing a comparative awaking, a tran- 
sition to a state of more sensibility, and then, by persistence, the 
suggestion may succeed absolutely. 

In short, we see the importance of rapport for the manifestation of 
the phenomenon we are considering ; and though we desire to touch 
as little as possible upon questions that are beyond the scope of our 
work, we shall be obliged to elucidate it somewhat. 

What is meant by this " magnetic rapport ? " 

The phenomenon so called is a very complex one. In it is involved 
the whole question of magnetism. For hypnotism it has no meaning. 
A hypnotized subject hears everybody. A magnetized subject hears 
only his magnetizer. Nay, more ; he hears his magnetizer only when his 
magnetizer addresses him. 

Standing beside a somnambule, and conversing with him, you may 
freely answer other persons, address them, speak to them about the 
somnambule, ridicule him. He hears nothing. But when you yourself 
shall address him he will reply to you, and will execute your orders. 

Why? How comes it that another impression, in all respects iden- 
tical, at the physical point of view, is not noted by the somnambule, 
when it is not accompanied by a certain intention ? 

Is the thing lacking in the latter case a mental action ? Doubtless ! 
But the case is not so simple as it seems. We cannot affirm mental 
action simply on the basis of this phenomenon. In most cases mental 
action is absent from the phenomenon, at least in the sense of will- 
transmission. Yes, the intention makes all the difference ; but if we 
observe closely we see that we change our attitude perceptibly when 
addressing other persons. Usually we turn about ; above all, we give 
a different intonation to the voice, and the brain of our subject is not 
regulated for that intonation. 

From this we may see the importance of involuntary suggestions. 

1 French, exciter. But the words excite, excitement, etc., seem to denote a higher 
degree of commotion than is always implied by exciter. Nudge is an appropriate verb 
here — and a picturesque. Stet ! — Translator. 


A mass of valueless observations in hypnology might have been 
spared had it been known : 

1. That hypnotism is not to be confounded with magnetism ; 

2. That the magnetized subject divines our intentions up to the 
point of ansesthesis or to that of hyperesthesia, according to the in- 
tonation of our voice. 

All this, again, without mental suggestion. Now add the action of 
suggestion that manifests itself from time to time, at least indirectly, 
by unconscious perceptions of tJie secondary order, and you will see how 
great is the chance of error in a study made under such conditions. 

Rapport results : 

1. From a concentration of the subject's attention, directed solely 
toward the magnetizer. (This is the more usual case, and very often 
this explanation suffices.) 

2. From a special psychic adjustment (reglage), partly obtained 
through this concentration, but principally brought about by the 
magnetizing processes, and kept up by involuntary indications con- 
veyed by the attitude of the magnetizer, his voice, etc. (This case 
is less frequent.) 

3. From an individual physical action (which we will describe in the 
sequel, but which is seldom evident). 

4. From a mental suggestion. 

There we have magnetism at flood ! A?i individual physical action : 
that is magnetism, whether fluid or not. When the operator comes 
into play, not as a bright button, 1 but as a live body, as a dynamic 
center whose presence is not indifferent, that assuredly is magnetism. 

Well, yes ! That must be admitted, else we must renounce the un- 
derstanding of certain facts. 

An eminent professor in the College de France, whose originality 
of views and exactitude of experimentation I esteem highly, has said 
concerning this subject : 

" Science is indebted to Braid for having drawn the line sharp be- 
tween the erroneous pretensions of those who believe more or less in 
what purports to be animal magnetism or neuric force, that may issue 
from the nerves of one individual and enter those of another, and the 
very interesting facts that may be produced in sundry parts of the 
nervous system of an individual, under the influence of a special irri- 
tation coming from another part of that system." 

This disposition to substitute, as far as possible, the positive for 
the mysterious, I understand and approve ; but why be more Braidian 
than Braid ? That excellent observer could not abide long in the 
erroneous belief that the phenomena he produced and those produced 
by magnetizers are identical. He rejects the concurrence of the 

1 Bouton brillant — a button, or knob, of polished metal, or the like, used in pro- 
ducing hypnosis. — Translator, 


" fluid " in his experiments, and strives to substitute for an impalpa- 
ble objective action a verified subjective one, and he is right : every 
one ought to refuse, as far as possible, to admit new forces ; but 
Braid does not say, like the hypnotizers of our time, that magnetism 
does not exist, and that hypnotism takes its place completely. He 
says only this : " We were unable to discover the sympathetic influ- 
ence that other experimenters, 'tis said, have found." These are the 
words of the true man of science. But there is something more : 
despite his dominant disposition, which was eminently scientific, to 
eliminate magnetism from hypnotic action, he came to recognize the 
error of supposing that the one took the place of the other com- 
pletely. He says : 

"The following remarks of Mr. M. Brookes, the well-known 
lecturer, on animal magnetism, will throw still more light on this con- 
troversy. On learning that I had changed my opinion upon the subject 
of identity, he said : ' I am very glad you have believed it your duty 
to change your original view as to the identity of your phenomena 
with those of mesmerism. From the first day I admitted the value 
and importance of your discovery, but I could not accept this identity, 
and I found fault with you for the violence with which you condemned 
the partisans of animal magnetism, because they could not agree 
with you. I believed, and still believe, that you were in the wrong in 
that controversy, and that in fact you were unfair to yourself, for you 
have in fact discovered a new agent, and not simply a modification of 
an agent already known.' " 

Leave therefore to Braid the things that are Braid's, and to Mesmer 
the things that are Mesmer's. 

Mesmer was in the wrong (he was often in the wrong, but in this 
case was particularly in the wrong), in that he came first, and one is 
seldom received kindly who comes too early. Braid rendered great 
service to science by verifying, according to exact methods, a certain 
number of facts already discovered by the magnetizers, already 
authenticated by an academic commission, already explained sub- 
jectively by Faria, Bertrand and Henin de Cuvilliers, merely pre- 
sented by him in a more positive and more scientific light. That is 
all he did, and that is enough. But it is not enough for those in our 
day who continue his labors. 

" To-day," says Dr. Bottey, 1 " the mysterious is dead, and with it 
animal magnetism, which has ceased to exist since Braid, in 1843, 
gave to mesmerism and fluidism the decisive blow that killed them 

Such is Dr. Bottey's opinion, but such was not Braid's. He said : " I 

long believed in the identity of the phenomena produced by my 

method and by that of the believers in mesmerism. . ... I still 

believe at least in the analogy of the actions exercised upon the nervous 

1 Dr. J. Bottey, " Le Magnetisme Animal," etc., p. I. Paris, 1884. 


system " — a very just remark. " Nevertheless, judging from what 
the magnetizers declare that they produce, in certain cases, there 
seems to be sufficient difference to regard hypnotism and mesmerism 
as two distinct agents." ' 

Braid, therefore, has killed nothing, and it would perhaps be wellif 
writers would read him before they assign him any part to play. 

Let us proceed to the facts : 

Instead of entering into details upon the question of rapport, 
which would require a separate volume, let us simply point out a 
few facts which prove the insufficiency of the two psychic causes 
mentioned above, to explain the phenomena of rapport. 

In a person sunk in the magnetic sleep the sense of touch presents 
peculiarities that are quite astonishing. There are many shades of 
difference in the phenomenon, but we may consider it in its simplest 
and most definite form ; to verify it we shall have but to select a sub- 
ject that has been magnetized by one person only, and that many 
times, for this phenomenon is seldom manifested in a first or a second 

The subject feels and takes kindly the touch of his magnetizer. If 
extranes touch him, either of two results may follow, according to 
the state the subject is in : either 

1. The touch will cause him visible annoyance, which may be so 
great as to produce a paroxysm ; or 

2. He will not feel it at all. 

In the former case, it is not necessary that the touch be direct ; 
touch his clothes, pillow, bed-covering, bed, chair, etc., and though the 
subject does not see the act, he will shudder, start and complain of 
the unpleasant sensation. I have made many experiments with a view 
to eliminate the influence of imagination, and am fully convinced that 
the phenomenon is real. Besides, it was noticed long ago by 
Puysegur. Sometimes this elective anesthesia is so pronounced that 
the subject cannot endure even the presence of an individual though 
the latter be some yards distant from him. But we may suppose that 
in this case olfactive sensations have some influence. In other cases 
he will endUre the presence of a person even alongside him, but only 
on condition that the person shall not touch him either directly or in- 
directly. In this phenomenon there is a regular scale of sensibility : 
some subjects are influenced only by direct contact, others are in- 
fluenced at the distance of two or three inches, others at the distance 
of several yards. I have not noticed any difference with respect to 
covered or exposed parts of the body ; when the touch is disagreeable 
it is so whether the body is touched directly or through the clothing, 
only the effect is perhaps a little more obnoxious when one touches a 

1 J. Braid, " Neurypnology. " [The quotation is from Brown-Sequard's French 
translation of the work, p. 27.] 


srarment that comes in close contact with the skin than when one 
touches, for example, the hem of a long robe ; but the difference is 
neither constant nor certain. 

I anticipate the objections of observers who will bring forward the 
fact that in some subjects, those of little sensibility, this phenomenon 
does not occur ; that with others, in light somnambulism, the touch of 
a third person simply awakens the subject ; finally, that with others 
only the first contact gives the subject a shock and that thereafter 
there is no effect. But there are a good many subjects on whom the 
experiment can be made successfully. 

A physician of my acquaintance, refusing to believe in this phe- 
nomenon, once asked me to exhibit it to him. The experiment was 
made on a young woman whom he knew well, and who was magnet- 
ized by me for the fifth time. Her eyes were blindfolded and we sta- 
tioned ourselves behind her, touching with one finger her hair or her 
back, according as the doctor indicated by signs. She never once 
made a mistake in telling which of us two had touched her ; indeed, 
the thing was visible, for there was a reflex movement of repulsion 
when she was touched by other than me. 

There is a physical action, then ; but of what sort ? 

It is of two kinds — i, pathological ; 2, physiological. 

1. A person that is ill — that is to say, disequilibrated, suffering, and 
debilitated — re-acts upon the sensitive subject by disturbing her mole- 
cular equilibrium, by communicating to her his suffering by influence, 
or by depriving her of a part of her general molecular energy. 

2. A person in good health, but extrane, acts less strongly, as a 
rule ; his touch is not so disagreeable, but is more or less so on 
account of the difference between his dynamic state and that pro- 
duced or communicated to the subject by the magnetizer. We are 
unable to state definitely wherein this difference consists, but we 
must needs accept it, even outside of magnetism. 

If we do not perceive it in the normal state, that does not prove 
that it does not exist ; we do not see the stars by day, though they 
are ever shining with the same luster. With respect to this matter, 
the somnambule is an exceedingly sensitive apparatus that is influ- 
enced by causes which in the normal state are insignificant. 

In the second case — to wit, when the subject feels not at all the 
touch of the extrane — the following experiment can be made : Instead 
of touching directly, one may touch with a pencil, for example. If 
one were to touch directly, as with a finger, differences of tempera- 
ture, etc., might be supposed to indicate to the subject who it was 
that touched her. But that supposition has no weight in the case of 
indirect contact. But now, in spite of that, the subject will feel the 
magnetizer's pencil, and will not feel the same pencil when it is held 
by the hand of a third person 


I beg the opponents of magnetism to reflect upon this experiment. 
It may be varied in several ways. The subject does not feel the 
pencil, but let the magnetizer touch the hand of the person holding 
it, and now it is felt again. Nay, more. Let us take, instead of the 
pencil, a long rod, and let the magnetizer grasp it first at the distance 
of five, then of ten, finally of twenty-five inches. The pressure of 
the rod and its contact with the skin of the subject will become more 
and more confused, more and more uncertain, till at last at the dis- 
tance of some yards, according to the force of the individual physical . 
action, and the subject's sensibility, the latter will feel nothing. 
Nevertheless the mechanical pressure is ever the same ! 

Is it imagination that does this ? Is it faith ? Explain this experi- 
ment to me without physical action, and I will renounce magnetism ; 
but not till then. 

There are several other evidences of physical action, but this one 
will suffice for the present. It proves that ??wlectilar dytiamic differ- 
ences pass beyond the surface of the body ; that a certain vibratory tonic 
movement peculiar to a given organism is propagated beyond its 
periphery, and can influence the subject so definitely, so palpably, 
that there is a real action. 

There is, then, an individual physical action. The hypnotizers may 
make as much sport of that as they wish : " He laughs best who 
laughs last." 

Personal dynamic action is one of the causes of rapport. The sub- 
ject is insensible, but he feels better than ever the hand of his mag- 
netizer. He is deaf, but he hears better than ever his magnetizer's 
voice. And this it is that, with other things, constitutes rapport. 

The fourth and last agent remains — mental suggestion. 

The magnetizer's organism, already active by its very presence, be- 
comes more active when, in the dynamic mass that constitutes his 
personality, there is developed by concentration of thought and 
tension of will a center of force, strengthening the invisible but most 
real bond that unites the two organisms. 

And now, lest the reader should think we are leading him into a 
world of fancy, let us glance at the sum of the phenomena common 
to the two. 

In hypnotic states these agents are inactive, for in hypnotism there 
is no rapport ; but in magnetic states they manifest themselves in 
every possible degree. In most instances the first of the four agents 
(the subject's expectant attention) suffices to explain the facts. This 
explanation is made more complete by the concurrence of the second 
agent : ordinary suggestions are associated with the magnetizing pro- 
cesses and the attitude, gestures, etc., of the magnetizer. In a few 
cases physical action becomes evident. In fine, exceptionally (per- 
haps once in several hundred cases), mental suggestion overrules all 


other influences, and then only is the theory of the Voluntists con- 

But those who, lightly dismissing the facts, deny physical action 
and mental suggestion, simply prove one or other of two things : 
either that they have not studied the question sufficiently — i. e., have 
not experimented on a great number of persons ; or that they are in- 
capable of making delicate experiments. But I forgot — there is a 
third class — bona-fide observers, capable and familiar with the results 
of experiment, but who have preconceived opinions. 

They wear colored spectacles, and for them all things are of the 
color of their glasses. The result is often ludicrous. I will give 
three instances : First, the case of a distinguished savant who, in order 
not to accept physical action, concedes mental suggestion ; then the 
case of a very ingenious but very skeptical analyst, who, unwilling to 
recognize a physical action, admits mental suggestion and second 
sight ; finally, an excellent observer and discreet innovator who, in his 
efforts to dispute both physical action and mental suggestion, in spite 
of himself demonstrates them both, and besides gives the weight of 
his authority to an utterly prseter-scientific opinion. 

Let us begin with the last. The question is about Braid. Dr. 
Bottey, in whose eyes thought-transference is " only a piece of jug- 
glery having its place in the domain of charlatanism," is right, how- 
ever, when he says that " the only fault one can find with Braid is, 
that he wished to make his discovery promote the doctrines of phre- 
nology." But Mr. Bottey does not know that it is just the phrenhyp- 
notic studies of Braid that prove thought-transference. 

The matter stands thus : Dr. Gall conceived a theory, based appa- 
rently on experiment, and in which is some truth, but which in many 
respects runs counter to the data of physiology, and is entirely wrong 
in its details. According to this theory, the whole gray matter of the 
brain is divided into 27 small regions, called organs, which are the 
seats of the several faculties. 

Thus, according to Gall, we have in the brain a special organ for 
Industry, one for Friendship, Quarrelsomeness, Theft, Self-esteem, 
Metaphysic Penetration, Veneration (the same which at La Salpetriere 
determines somnambulism -.pressure on the vertex), and so on. 

Several magnetizers amused themselves with practicing phreno- 
magnetism, i. e., applying magnetism to the phrenology of Gall, Spurz- 
heim, and other craniologists. They acted by contact, pressing upon 
a point on the cranium corresponding to some phrenological organ, 
and thus sometimes obtaining in sensitive subjects a manifestation of 
the corresponding sentiments, dispositions, or ideas. 

Braid tried to verify their assertions, and had such success that he 
was quite surprised at the result. Every few pages of his book he 
reverts to this subject, and it is highly instructive to see him at the 


same time enthused and embarrassed by the strangeness of these 

In truth, it was a little too much for a mind so positive as his, 
especially when the man had got it into his head that all hypnotic 
phenomena result from fatigue of the visual organs. The thing, 
nevertheless, was true. Braid doubts, experiments again, raises every 
possible objection ; but the reality remains, mysterious, but unde- 
niable. The subject steals a ring if you press on the organ of Theft ; 
shamefaced, he gives it back if you press on the organ of Conscien- 
tiousness ; begins to pray when you touch Veneration, and fights his 
magnetizer if the latter bears a little heavily on Combativeness, and 
so on. Nay, more. Some subjects do not need to be touched ; by 
simply pointing his finger at an organ Braid got nearly the same 
result. Certain individual differences were noticed : one person could 
act better than another, and always the best operator is the one that 
knows more about phrenology. Braid, ever more and more embarrassed, 
experiments on forty-five persons one after another, hardly any of 
whom had any notion of phrenology, and who, therefore, could not 
simulate. He substituted in place of the finger a glass rod, glass 
being a bad conductor of electricity and magnetism (!), and then, in 
place of the glass rod, he used a cork. But the results were the same, 
the subjects still underwent the action of the organ that was touched ! 

What was to be done ? Physical action was deemed impossible, 
a fortiori mental action. So Braid contrives a highly ingenious but 
quite gratuitous theory : he supposes a sympathic correspondence 
between certain points of the scalp and the expression of certain 
states of mind. 

At length, seventeen years later, he recognized a certain action upon 
the subject's intelligence, produced by contact, but was unable to 
account fully for so many successes obtained. 

As for us, while we admit that there were several influences at work 
in Braid's experiments, we do not hesitate to say that the latter 
demonstrate a physical action of the magnetizer (whether direct or 
through the glass rod), and above all that they demonstrate in a very 
remarkable' way the fact of mental suggestion. 

All the details given by Braid as to his mode of operation and the 
state of the subjects with whom his experiments were successful, con- 
firm our view. Braid was practicing magnetism as Monsieur Jourdain 
wrote prose. 

The second observer is Morin. His whole book, a very interesting 
one, is devoted to a refutation of the " fluid " theory and of the 
hypothesis of any physical action whatever, but it confirms the facts 
of mental suggestion and even of vision at a distance. We will return to 
this point when we come to speak of theories, for Morin gives a theory 
of mental suggestion. 


The third is Bertrand. I am reluctant to find fault with this 
eminent observer. Like Braid, Bertrand was led simply by a sincere 
love of truth, and had he had evidence sufficiently strong to meet his 
requirements, he no doubt would have .been quick to recognize a 
physical action, no matter what the cost in the scientific world. But 
he had only negative results. Twice, however, he was much em- 
barrassed ; once when he was obliged to sign the report of Du Potet's 
experiments made at the Hotel-Dieu in presence of Husson and 
several other physicians, and which went to prove action at a distance. 
He had signed the document, and then retracted his signature, not 
without reason ; for Mr. Husson, who was not as familiar as Bertrand 
was with the suggestion theory of the magnetizers, had not taken all 
the needed precautions. It was Bertrand's ill-luck to call for a new 
experiment, for that confirmed Du Potet's theory rather than his own. 
But at all events he was within his right as a skeptical observer ; he 
was seeking evidence that could not be questioned. 

On another occasion — but let us hear Bertrand himself : 

" I have seen (he says) * a somnambule (Mrs. Chevalier) whom I did 
not magnetize, but whose treatment I had long been observing, and 
upon whom the person that magnetized her had acquired an extraor- 
dinary influence. He could at will deprive her of any one of her 
senses, making her for a moment blind, dumb, deaf, etc. ; could 
paralyze a portion of her body, or even throw her into a state of per- 
fect lethargy, which ceased only when the magnetizer was pleased to 
bring her to herself again by ?neans of a peculiar gesture. This latter fact 
is the more remarkable because the somnambule was absolutely deprived of the 
use of her senses, as I often had occasion to verify. (A witness one day, 
to make sure of the somnambule's insensibility, pinched her so hard as 
to cut out with his nails a small portion of flesh, so producing a bleed- 
ing wound which she perceived on awaking, and which for some time 
caused her to suffer.) There was nothing that could give her notice 
of the moment when the accustomed sign was to be given." 

There Bertrand is mistaken. General insensibility though verified 
objectively in every way, is in no wise inconsistent with even very 
great sensibility with respect to excitations coming from the magne- 

Apart from cases of very profound paralytic aideia (which are very 
rare) and from certain active ecstatic states wherein the subject 
ceases momentarily to hear and to sense his magnetizer, he always 
does sense him, and that very clearly too, even at a distance, despite 
the general anaesthesia. He feels the gesture made anear, even while 
he is sleeping naturally, without ever a suspicion of the magnetizer's 
presence. Consequently, the fact cited proves only the individualiza- 

1 See the details in Husson's report, also in Morin, and in Bertrand, " Du Magn.," 
p. 259. See also Du Potet, " Experiences Publiques sur le Magnetisme Animal," etc. 
Paris, 1821. 


tion of the sensibility, and not mental suggestion, nor direct physical 
action. This appears from the further details following : 

" This sign consisted in a rapid movement inward of the out- 
stretched hand (consequently there was a current of air). At this 
sign she started and came to herself ; but usually one sign was not 
enough ; many signs had to be made one after another, and at each 
there would be a start, a commotion of her whole body, as though 
she had received a powerful galvanic charge ; after four or five 
shocks she would open her eyes, sit up, and come to herself." 

Experiments for producing paralysis of any one sense, purely by 
means of gestures, are rather easy to make. This I demonstrated 
upon four subjects to the Warsaw Medical Society in 1881. 

They do not suffice to demonstrate mental action, nor even physical 
action of the hand, but they prove the existence of ideorganic associa- 
tions produced by habit, between a sign and an organic state. The ex- 
periment is more conclusive when it is performed on a person in his 
natural sleep, whom you never have magnetized, who is not expecting 
the magnetizer, and whom you magnetize without contact. I once 
made this experiment under favorable conditions, and was successful. 
But here again mental action is not proven, if one acts as I did, by 
making passes at but a little distance, for with sensitive subjects air- 
movements many times repeated before the subject's face may pro- 
duce somnambulism without the intervention of special physical 

On this point Bertrand remarks : 

" I found it always impossible by a simple act of my will to make 
the waking patient lose consciousness [as we have seen, this phen- 
omenon does occur, but it is very rare], and when I made the sign 
without any act of will, I produced the same effect as though I had 
willed to act ; so that my will,/^r se, was without action while I sought 
to act upon the patient in the waking state ; but it was not so when she 
was in somnambulism or in paralysis, for then my will of itself sufficed 
to make her come to herself [as for me, I never have been able 
to awaken a somnambule by a simple act of will, at least, not under 
strict conditions, i. e., under conditions excluding involuntary habit- 
ual suggestion. It would seem that in this respect individuals 
differ]. Still the latter result, it must be confessed, was not as clear 
as the former, for, as though to prevent accidents that might result 
the somnambule was never left more than three or four minutes in uncon- 
sciousness, it was difficult, in so short a time, to make any conclusive 

Of course ; and it seems to me that Bertrand is self-illusioned with 
regard to his mental action ; that the somnambule, accustomed to 
sleep only three or four minutes, would have awaked of her own 
accord. (See p. 20, supra.) Bertrand, however, declares (though at 
the same time himself raising some objections) that in order to con- 
vince himself he made the following experiment : 


" I placed myself in a part of the chamber where I was hidden by 
a corner of the mantelpiece. I repeated seven times (when I made 
the gesture anear the patient, she usually came to herself at the third 
or fourth) — I seven times repeated the customary gesture while she 
was unconscious, and seven times she felt at the same instant the 
shocks (secousses) that this gesture is wont to produce ; then she came 
to herself completely. According to what was told me, the shocks 
were in number the same as my gestures ; they took place at the 
same moment with my gestures, and the awaking came progressively, 
as when I stood close by her ; in a word, nothing is wanting to this 

On the contrary, there is wanting to it the certainty that the pa- 
tient could not hear these gestures, or feel the currents of air they 

A strange fact, but one repeated every day in works on hypnotism : 
Bertrand, who was so exacting when judging the experiments of 
others, and who did not believe in the magnetic fluid, does not seem 
very scrupulous in his own experiments upon so complex a question. 

He is even astonished to find that the signs or gestures that always 
produced the desired effect in the state of somnambulism and while 
the somnambule did not see them, were insufficient in the waking 
state. That, again, was an effect of ideorganic association. The 
somnambule was trained in somnambulism, and not in the waking 
state ; consequently, the associations formed in that state could not 
spring up again in a state totally different. They were related to a 
special organic state as follows : 

Sign a plus Somn. = Effect a' plus Somn. 

I I -L t I ft ^__ f I I. / I t II 

II I ( II __ II „/ » I tC 
II J II II __ I « J / « t ♦ • 

and that does not mean that 

Sign a plus Waking = Effect a' plus Waking. 

II 1^ It II It 1_V it II 

It ■ c II It __ II „/ II <« 
It J It It __ tl J/ It II 

for there is no continuity between complete somnambulism and 
waking. But the signs used in the waking state may have influence 
in somnambulism, for there is continuity between waking and som- 
nambulism — the somnambule remembers things happening to him in 
the normal state. 

This complex ideorganic association may apply equally and solely 
to distinct phases of the sleep. Thus it is that at La Salpetriere 
catalepsy is obtained by opening the eyes of the subject, lethargy by 
closing the eyes, somnambulism by friction on the top of the head. 
These are mere accidental associations that have no scientific value, 
and which have only brought confusion into the domain of hypnotism 


and the magnetic sleep, where already there was confusion enough. 
Observers, confident of the exactitude of their researches, have made 
it their business to find the three states where they did not exist, and 
have sometimes succeeded — with suggestionable subjects. Proceeding 
on the same principle, one might produce lethargy by pressure on the 
vertex, catalepsy by occlusion of the eyelids, and somnambulism by 
friction — on the ankle. It is time to make an end of illusions that 
have already produced a lot of valueless observations. 

I have just said that I never succeeded in awakening a subject by 
simple mental suggestion. That phenomenon, however, was verified 
by the academic commission of 1826. 

" At an agreed signal, given by Mr. Fouquier, Mr. Foissac, whose 
presence was unknown to Cazot, awakened the latter, as he had en- 
dormed him, by the force of his will alone, despite the questions the 
company were addressing to the somnambule with the sole purpose 
of keeping from him all knowledge of the instant at which he was to 
be awakened. . . . 

"September 10, at 7 o'clock in the evening, the commission met at 
Mr. Itard's to continue their experiments on Cazot. The latter was 
in the sitting-room and a conversation was opened with him, and kept 
up till half-past seven, the moment when Mr. Foissac, who arrived 
after him and had remained in the antechamber, separated from him 
by two locked doors, and distant from him twelve feet, began to 
magnetize him. Three minutes after, Cazot said : ' I believe Mr. 
Foissac is here, for I feel dazed.' In eight minutes he was completely 
asleep. . . 

" Though the commission could not have any doubt as to the real 
action produced by the magnetism upon Cazot, even unbeknown to 
him, we wished to have one more proof nevertheless. The com- 
mission therefore went to Mr. Bourdois's study, Oct. 5, at noon, at 
which hour Cazot came there with his child. Mr. Foissac had been 
invited for half-past twelve, and arrived at the hour named (the time 
when Cazot withdrew to the parlor) without any communication with 
us. He was told, however, that Cazot was sitting on a sofa six feet 
distant from a closed door, and that the commission wished him to 
endorm the subject and to awaken him at that distance, he being in 
the parlor and Cazot in the study. 

" At thirty-seven minutes past twelve, while Cazot was engaged in 
the conversation that we were carrying on, and examining the pictures 
that adorn the study, Mr. Foissac began his magnetic manoeuvres, 
and we observed that at the end of four minutes Cazot was winking 
slightly, that he appeared restless ; finally, that he fell asleep in nine 
minutes." ' 

Other similar experiments were made by the commission, and were 
equally successful, but they were conducted under less stringent con- 
ditions. Hence, it is needless to quote them. 

As regards simultaneous will-transmission and thought-transmission, 
experiments of that sort were less successful. 

1 This narrative appears to be incpnsistent with regard to the locations of Foissac 
and Cazot. — Translator. 


" Mr. Gueneau wrote on a bit of paper the following words : ' Go 
sit on a stool that is in front of the piano.' Mr. de Geslin, making 
this will possess him wholly, bade the somnambule do what he 
mentally required of her. She arose from her place, and going in 
front of the clock said, ' It is half-past nine o'clock.' Mr. de Geslin 
told her that was not what he had asked. Then she went into the 
neighboring chamber ; again she was told that she was mistaken, so 
she went back to her place. The next act willed was that she should 
scratch her forehead : she held out her right hand, but did not per- 
form the desired movement. [It is always wrong to tell the subject 
that an experiment is to be made, for then emotion awakens her partly, 
/. e. y causes her to pass into an active state — active polyideia — and then 
she reflects too much, and tries to divine what is demanded of her, 
instead of submitting passively to influence. When, under such con- 
ditions, the subject is mistaken twice in succession, it is best to suspend 
the experiment, and to make the sleep a little deeper by the aid of a 
few passes before the face.] The will is that she sit down at the 
piano, and she goes to a window six feet away from the instrument. 
The magnetizer complains that she does not do what is enjoined on 
her by his thought ; she rises, and changes chairs. We ask that when 
Mr. de Geslin lifts his hand she shall lift hers, and keep it raised till 
the magnetizer's hand is lowered. She raises her hand, and it remains 
motionless, not falling till five minutes after Mr. de Geslin has lowered 
his hand." 

After these unsuccessful experiments, the commission declared that 
thought-transference had not been verified, but admits the fact of 
will-action at a distance. That was the opposite of what Bertrand 
held, for he believed that there is no will-action at a distance, but that 
the subject can divine the will of the operator by a communication of 
thoughts. That was rather curious hair-splitting, but we must add 
that Bertrand had in mind action of will directly upon the organs of the 
subject that are to be put in motion, and that is what he denied, while 
he admitted the fact of thought-communication, and consequently the 
possibility of a movement that is ordered being executed, if the subject 
perceives our thought and is willing to conform to bur desires. 

The commission reached the following conclusions with regard to 
mental action : 

" When once we put a person in the magnetic sleep we do not 
always need to have recourse to contact and passes to magnetize him 
again. We can not only act upon the magnetized person, but we can put 
him fully in somnambulism and take him out of it unbeknown to him, 
while we are out of his sight, some distance away, with doors between him 
and us." (" Report of the Academy of Medicine," June 28, 1831.) 

The report was signed by Messrs. Bourdois de la Motte (President), 
Fouquier, Gueneau de Mussy, Guersent, Husson (Secretary), Itard, 
J. J. Leroux, Marc, Thillaye. Messrs. Double and Magendie, having 
been unable to be present at the experiments, thought they ought not 
to sign. 




THUS will-action unbeknown to the subject has been verified by 
an academic commission, but that does not prevent Mr. Bern- 
heim from pronouncing the following judgment in a memoir addressed 
to Mr. Paul Janet : 

" There is not a magnetizer in existence ; there is no magnetic 
fluid. Neither Donato nor Hansen possesses any special hypnotic 
powers. The sleep produced does not depend on the hypnotizer, but 
on the subject ; it is his own faith that endorms him ; no one can be 
hyp7iotized against his will, if he withstands the injunction. I am happy 
to join you in assuring the public against all the chimerical fears that 
a false interpretation of facts might engender." ' 

The public is re-assured ; but I am astonished that so eminent an 
observer could bring together so many inexactitudes in the compass 
of a few lines. 

We may set aside the question of a special fluid, for a fluid is not 
necessary for an explanation of the facts ; we would simply remark 
that those who have believed in a fluid have always regarded it as a 
general, not an individual property, presenting only some differences 
of degree. 

" The sleep produced does not depend on the hypnotizer." On the 
hypnotizer, no ; on the magnetizer, yes ; that is to say, it does depend 
on those who, instead of being simply water-bottle stopples, employ 
their own bodies, their minds, and their wills in the act of hypnotiza- 

" It is the subject's own faith that endorms him." Have frogs, 
lobsters, ducks, hens, guinea-pigs the same faith in magnetism that 
Donato's subjects have? 

" No one can be hypnotized against his will, if he withstand the 
injunction." Nevertheless I have many a time endormed persons 
that resisted with all their might. Mr. Bernheim is doubly mistaken 
here, for hi most cases this phenomenon can be explained by his 
suggestional theory, without any direct influence, physical or psy- 
chical. There is not even any need to cite the facts of somnambulism 
produced at a distance, by a direct physical or psychic action. 

Ideoplasty may be two-fold — conscious and unconscious. There 
are persons who in all sincerity declare that they are free from a given 
prejudice, but who, nevertheless, are influenced by it involuntarily. 
There is a conscious submission and an unconscious. Provided a sub- 
ject has sensibility, if you suggest sleep to him that idea may realize 
sleep despite his opposition. 

1 Bernheim, " De la Suggestion dans 1'Etat Hypnotique," p. 13. Paris, 1884. 


The same is to be said of other ideas suggested. 

After all, is it wise to cut short in half a dozen words a delicate 
question that one has not studied sufficiently ? That seems to be the 
fashion nowadays. Here is the author of a book in other respects 
highly interesting, who says : " The question of thought-reading, of 
lucidity, of second-sight, is decided once for all." 1 

By whom decided ? It would no doubt be no easy thing to say. 
When one is in such a situation 'twere best he should say, " I have not 
studied that question ; " or, " My studies have yielded me only nega- 
tive results ; " or, " The results I have obtained do not authorize me 
to decide the question ; " but not, " This thing does not exist, that 
thing is false, because I do not believe in it." 

Let us now look at the facts : 

i. Mr. S. had a somnambule, Miss X., who was also his mistress. 
She is at his house, sitting at a table ; he is walking about the rooms. 
Suddenly he sees in the court-yard another young woman coming, 
and he wants above all things to prevent the women from meeting. 
Without any long reflection, while still walking, he makes a gesture 
behind Miss X.'s head, and she forthwith falls asleep, and enters the 
state of paralytic aideia. He then receives the other woman and 
talks with her in presence of Miss X., who notices nothing. He did 
not awaken her till after the other was gone, then he awakened her 
with one puff of breath, and so rapidly that she did not even know 
she had been endormed. Mr. S. was still walking about the room. 

This fact proves neither physical action of gestures nor mental 
action of the will, but it does prove that one may be endormed unbe- 
known to himself. Miss X. was exceptionally sensitive, not to the more 
refined influences (mental suggestion did not succeed with her), but as 
concerns the rapidity of the phenomena. The impression of an hyp- 
notizing gesture (auditive and tactile) produced sleep by ideoplasty, 
that is, by an ideorganic association based on habitude, before she 
had time to think about it. 

I knew this person myself and I even made on her a similar experi- 
ment : 

2. Not having been magnetized in a long while by Mr. S., she be- 
lieved she had lost sensibility, and one day, in society, she told me she 
now felt so strong that she would like to try and magnetize me. I 
agreed for the fun of the thing, and let her have her way. Delighted 
because I consented, she seized my thumbs and fixed my gaze. To 
humor her the more I pretended to be overpowered by sleep ; then 
suddenly I opened my eyes and fixed her gaze, intending to endorm her, 
and she was asleep after a few seconds. We experimented on her for 
at least three quarters of an hour. Then I resumed my position 
before her, awakened her with a puff of breath, and continued my 
pretended sleep. Believing me to be really endormed, she began to 
?lap her hands in triumph, and could not understand why everyone 

•Cullere, " Magnetisme et Hypnotisme," p. 239. Paris, 1886. 


burst out laughing. She would not believe it was herself that was 
the sleeper. 

3. A girl of 14 years was magnetized by me five or six times ; she 
was highly sensitive, though less so than the preceding subject (hyp. 
exp., insensibility and contracture of the finger, whereas in the other 
the whole arm was contractured) ; in very good health (as was the 
other, too) ; she was magnetized only for the sake of some experi- 
ments designed to convince an acquaintance of mine, a physician. 
The only effect of these seances was that she slept a little longer in 
the night in natural sleep, and that magnetism made her prettier — so 
at least thought her girl friends. But her companions persuaded her 
to believe that if she should go on letting herself be endormed she 
would lose her will-power, and she would not be allowed to marry her 
cousin, whom she loved — as. one loves at 14 years. In short, my 
somnambule refused to obey me, without giving any reasons. She did 
not wish to be magnetized any more. She was entreated, ordered 
even, not to be whimsical, but in vain. 

" And you are not afraid that I shall endorm you in spite of your- 
self ? " 

" Oh, no, for I won't even sit by you." 

I was asked to try, and her parents authorized me to make the 
experiment, angry as they were at the disobedience of their daughter. 

I then took a handkerchief that she had left on the table and threw 
it into her lap, saying : 

"Well, now 'tis done. You will be asleep in five minutes." "That 
will have no effect whatever on me," she said. But all the same she 
hastened away to avoid my gaze. " No use in running away, you 
will come back of your own accord." 

Half an hour later she returned in somnambulism. 

Consequently one can be endormed " against his will " and though 
he " withstands the injunction." But here ideoplasty plays again the 
principal part. 

I might cite three or four others facts of the same sort — skeptics 
themselves asking me to make the attempt to overcome their resist- 
ance and incredulity. Credulousness without sensibility is of no avail j 
incredulity is ?io hindrance where sensibility exists. The will may retard 
the action, but it can only retard. Most of those who think them- 
selves hypnotizable are not, and some of those who hardly suspect 
themselves of sensibility may be hypnotized without difficulty. 

Here is a narrative of occurrences that took place in France ; it 
has been published over and over again. The matter came before 
the courts of law, and all the facts have been verified. 

4. "March 31, 1865, came to the hamlet of Guiols a mendicant. 
He was about 25 years of age ; was crippled in both legs. He begged 
hospitality of one H., who lived in the hamlet with his daughter. She 
was 26 years old, and her moral character was of the best. The beg- 
garman, whose name was Castellan, pretending to be deaf and dumb, 
gave them to understand by signs that he was hungry, and he was 
bid to supper. During the meal he acted strangely, and so attracted 
the attention of his hosts ; he would not let his glass be filled again 


without first making over it and on his own face the sign of the cross. 
During the evening he signified that he was able to write. Then he 
wrote the following phrases : ' I am the Son of God ; I come from 
Heaven and my name is Our Lord ; for you see my little miracles, 
and later you shall see greater ones. Do not fear me at all, I am sent 
from God.' Then he offered to remove the film that overspread the 
eye of a woman then present. He pretended that he knew the future 
and predicted that war would break out in six months. 

" These absurd actions made an impression on those present, and 
Josephine H. was particularly stirred by them. She slept all dressed, 
out of fear of the beggarman. The latter spent the night in the hay- 
loft, and on the morrow, after he had breakfasted, quit the hamlet. 
Soon he returned, after having made sure that Josephine would be 
alone the whole day. He found her busied with household cares, and 
for a while conversed with her by signs. The forenoon was spent by 
Castellan in exerting upon the young woman all his fascination. A 
witness declares that while she leaned over the fire on the hearth, 
Castellan, bent over her, kept making on her back circular signs and 
the sign of the cross ; at those times her eyes were wan. At noon they 
sat at table together. Hardly was the meal begun, when Castellan 
made a gesture as though to throw something into Josephine's spoon. 
Immediately the girl fainted. Castellan seized her, took her to her 
bed, and committed the uttermost outrages upon her. Josephine was 
conscious of what took place ; but, restrained by an irresistible force, she 
could not make any movement, nor utter a cry, though her will pro- 
tested against the assault committed upon her. Evidently she was in 
lethargy [in'the state of fascination rather]. Having come to herself 
again, she did not cease to be under the power of Castellan, and at 
4 o'clock p. m., when the man was going away from the hamlet, the 
wretched girl, drawn by a mysterious influence, which she strove in vain 
to withstand, left her father's house and blindly followed this beggar- 
man, toward whom she had feelings only of fear and loathing. They 
passed the night in a hayloft, and on the morrow directed their steps 
toward Collobrieres. One Mr. Sauteron met them in a wood and took 
them to his house. Castellan told him that he had abducted the 
young woman after having won her favors by device. Josephine, too, 
told him of her misfortune, adding that in her despair she had wished 
to drown herself. April 3, Castellan, followed by. the girl, stopped at 
the house of a Mr. Coudroyer, farmer. Josephine ceased not to 
lament and deplore the unfortunate situation in which she was held 
by the irresistible power of this man. ' Bring the strongest and 
tallest woman,' said she ; * you will see if Castellan will not cause her 
to fall.' [The poor girl judged from her own impressions. Not more 
than about 5 persons in 100 are capable of being brought under such, 
an influence, that is to say, unless they have been already hypnotized.] 
Josephine, dreading outrages that she feared might yet be per- 
petrated upon her, asked that she might be allowed to sleep in a 
neighboring house. Castellan came up to her at the moment when 
she was about to go, and seized her round the hips ; she fainted. 
Then, though according to the testimony of witnesses she was like 
one dead, she was seen, by order of Castellan, to go up the steps 
of the stairway, counting them without a mistake, then laughing 
convulsively. It was found that she was at the time completely 


"The next day, April 4th, she fell into a state like that of simple 
insanity (somnambulic delirium). She was out of her head and re- 
fused all food. She invoked God and the Virgin by turns. Castellan, 
wishing to give a new proof of his ascendancy over her, ordered her 
to go all round the room on her knees, and she obeyed. Touched 
by the sorrows of the wretched girl, provoked by the boldness with 
which her seducer abused his power over her, the inmates of the house 
drove the beggar away, despite his resistance. Hardly was he out- 
side the door when Josephine dropped to the floor as if dead. Castellan 
was called- back ; he made sundry signs over her and restored to her 
the use of her senses. On the next day they went away together. 
The people dared not prevent Josephine from following the man; 
Suddenly they saw her coming back on the run. Castellan had fallen 
in with some hunters, and while he talked with them she took flight. 
With tears, she begged that they would hide her, that they would 
rescue her from that influence. She was taken back to her father's 
house, and since then she seems not to have full use of her reason." 
[That was quite natural ; for with highly sensitive persons who are 
not thoroughly demagnetized 1 a nervous derangement persists for a 
good while. If they be thoroughly demagnetized the effect of the 
magnetism must in all cases be beneficial.] 

" Castellan was arrested April 14. He had already been convicted 
on a correctional process (correctionnellement). Nature appears to 
have gifted him with very extraordinary magnetic power. [Every- 
body can magnetize, but there are differences both in the degree and 
in the nature of the action.] To that cause is to be attributed the 
mysterious influence he possessed over Josephine [to that cause in part 
only, for ideoplasty also acted a part], whose constitution lent itself 
marvelously well to magnetism, as appeared from sundry experiments 
made upon her by physicians. Castellan admitted that it was by 
magnetic passes that he produced the fainting fit that preceded the 
rape. He even confessed that twice he had intimacy with her while 
she was neither endormed nor in the fainting fit, though she was in- 
capable of giving free consent to his criminal acts. The relations he 
had with her the second night they spent at Capelude were under 
different conditions, for on that occasion Josephine had no conscious- 
ness of the criminal act of which she was the victim [paralytic aideia~\, 
and it was Castellan himself that told her in the morning. On two 
other occasions the conditions were the same. 

" On his trial, Castellan exhibited the utmost coolness and auda- 
city. He specially paraded his magnetic powers. He had the impu- 
dence to offer to give proof of his skill in an experiment on the Presi- 
dent of the court. While undergoing examination by the Procureur 
Imperial he went further, for by the fixedness of his gaze he threat- 
ened to magnetize that officer, and the latter had to require him to 
lower his eyes. 

" Josephine, since she was taken from under the influence of this 
man, has nearly recovered her reason. In her deposition before the 
court she says : ' He exercised such power over me by his gestures 
and his passes that several times I fell in a dead faint. He might do 
with me then as he would. I know what things I suffered ; but I 
could neither speak nor act, and I underwent the most cruel tortures.' 

1 1 beg the reader to take this word in its empiric sense, apart from all theory ; I 
cannot here enter upon explanatory details. 


" Three physicians, Drs. Heriart, Poulet and Theus, were sum- 
moned to enlighten the jury as to the effects of magnetism. By their 
declarations they corroborated the conclusions of Drs. Auban and 
Roux (of Toulon). Castellan was condemned to twelve years of 
hard labor." 1 

" Extraordinary as these facts may appear," adds Mr. Liegeois to 
this narrative ; " strange as seems the power exercised by Castellan 
over his victim, we must not regard this as a unique occurrence. I 
could, I dare say, find among the clientage of Dr. Liebeault not one 
only, but ten persons, that under the conditions given would be as 
powerless to resist criminal assaults as Josephine H. was. The facts 
developed are of great importance." 8 

Now we see why Mesmer insisted on not divulging the methods of 
obtaining somnambulism. He states the reasons himself : " Since 
my method of treating and observing disease came into practice in 
different parts of France, several persons, whether from indiscreet 
zeal or from a vanity that is out of place, have, without any regard 
for the reserves and the precautions that I judged necessary, given a 
premature publicity to the effects, and above all to the explanation 
of this crisis-sleep ; / know that abuses have resulted from this, and I 
see with pain old-time prejudices coming back with big strides." 3 

In the foregoing cases the subject was aware of the magnetizer's 
intention, or at least of his presence. But this is in no wise essential. 
A person in a deep natural sleep, who never has seen the magnetizer 
and who has no thought of his presence, may be subjected to the 
influence of his passes and of his will, may be put in the somnam- 
bulic state, execute the magnetizer's orders, and wake again on the 
morrow, remembering absolutely nothing, not even in another period 
of somnambulism, not even under the influence of another magnetizer. 

Still, I make haste to add that such cases must, of necessity, be 
exceedingly infrequent — for they require not only an exceptional 
hypnotic sensibility, but also a sleep accompanied by complete insensi- 
bility — and that while magnetism may produce such serious effects, it 
at the same time supplies the means of guarding against them. Only 
it has to be remembered that hypnotism, which cannot produce these 
effects, is but an imitation of magnetism. 

Let us return to the facts : 

5. I was attending a lady patient who was not easily endormed. 
Once coming to her house a little late, I found her sleeping her natural 
sleep over a tiresome novel. I endormed her magnetically, left her 
as usual for a quarter of an hour in paralytic aideia, then held con- 

1 Dr. P. Despine, " Psychologie Naturelle, 1 ' vol. i., p. 586. Paris, 1868. 

2 Liegeois, " De la Suggestion Hypnotique," p. 48. Paris, 1884. I notice with 
surprise that in the new edition of his work Dr. Bernheim cites the same narrative, 
without perceiving that it contradicts his opinions. 

3 F. A. Mesmer, " Memoire," new edition, with notes by Dr. Picher Grandchamp, 
p. 56. Paris, 1826. 


versation with her in somnambulism ; at last, as my time was short, I 
awakened her. 

"Ah, so you are come," she said. "Well, endorm me quick, for my 
legs are paining me." 

"But I have already endormed you, and you have no more pain." 
"That is true ; it seems to me that I do not suffer now." 
But she would not believe that she had already been magnetized. 
Another time she was worse. The pains were excruciating, and I 
was summoned by telegraph. I was away from home, and did not 
call on the patient till near midnight. I found her out of her mind, 
raving, groaning, and writhing in pain. I spoke to her ; she made no. 
answer. I then laid my hand upon her head, and endormed her within 
five minutes at the longest. She always fell asleep more readily when 
she did not know I was present. (There was a peculiar individual 
cause for this, not easily explained here.) The pain ceased instantly, 
the fever grew less by degrees ; I gave her the order to sleep quietly 
the whole night, and left her. The next morning she was much sur- 
prised to find she had slept so well, and only from her husband did 
she learn that I had come and endormed her. 

Finally, I have often endormed patients in a fit of insanity — a more 
difficult thing, because, unable to recognize the magnetizer, they resist 
with all their might ; but by acting at first from a distance and then 
coming gradually nearer, one can always attain the end with patients 
sufficiently sensitive, that one has endormed before. As the fit of insanity 
usually ceases in the magnetic sleep, if the patient is then awakened 
he is surprised to see us. 

6. I myself had occasion lately to endorm an insane woman, abso- 
lutely unconscious, having no suspicion of what I was about to do, 
and who had never been hypnotized. The patient, a woman named 
Fier (excited melancholia, mania of persecution, thoughts of suicide, 
mutism), was under the care of Mr. Auguste Voisin at La Salpetriere. 
June 29, Mr. Voisin requested me to examine with the hypnoscope a 
number of his patients. They were brought to me, and I made my 
notes. When the turn of the patient referred to came, the woman 
attendant told me that it would be difficult to fetch her, for she was 
strapped in an armchair, and she could not be brought to me save by 
carrying her in the chair. So I went to the compartment for violent 
patients and found a woman of some 45 years, whose face and whose 
fetid breath betokened inanition. She refused all food, and had 
taken almost nothing for eight days. A rational word or sign was 
not to be got from her, and as she had made two attempts to hang 
herself, it had been necessary to put her in the camisole or strait 
waistcoat, and to strap her down. I had the camisole taken off and 
applied the hypnoscope. On pricking her finger with a pin I thought 
I observed a diminution of sensibility, judging from the weakness of 
the reflex movements, and, without more ado, I laid my hand upon her 
head with the intention of endormiug her. After three or four minutes 
her eyelids fell and she slept. She replied to me rationally, making 
signs with the head. I ordered her to sleep till I should come again, 
and went to apprise Mr. Voisin, who was much pleased with this 
result, for he was beginning to^be troubled about the patient's state. 


Half an hour afterward, we, Mr. Voisin and myself, found her still in 
somnambulism. It was proposed to move her into her bed. I said 
that she was able to go herself. She was unstrapped from the chair, 
and I ordered her to rise. She rose and bent forward, but her legs 
were fixed where she stood. They were stiff. A slight massage re- 
moved the stiffness, and, assisted by us, the patient crossed the court 
to go to her bed. From that moment forth the improvement was 
noticeable from day to day. She began to speak, to eat and to sleep 
quietly of nights. For the first few days I tried to keep her nearly all 
the time in somnambulism, and, in fact, the sleep was interrupted only 
now and then by the return of the fit of insanity. She had no recol- 
lection either of this first magnetization or of the period of derange- 
ment. She is still in the hospital, for as yet there can be no certitude 
of a definitive cure, but she is perfectly rational and does sewing in 
the workroom. This observation is worthy of a detailed account, 
but at present I wish only to prove that an insane person can be en- 
dormed without any expressed suggestion. 

7. And here is an instance to prove that it is possible to endorm an 
insane patient in spite of his opposition. I take it from a memorable 
observation of Mr. Voisin: "June 1. — The agitation had not ceased. 
Mr. Voisin wanted to hypnotize her; she showed fight, spat in his face ; 
he succeeded only with difficulty. The sleep was deep, lasted twenty- 
five minutes. In the afternoon and all the next day she was more 
calm." 1 

Consequently, it is inexact to say that " No one can be hypnotized 
against his will, if he withstand the injunction." In the new edition 
of his book, Mr. Bernheim reproduces the same assertion. But I find 
this at the end of the volume : 

" Before applying the suggestional therapeutic, here are the rules I 
consider myself bound to observe, and which every physician must 
observe, to safeguard his conscience and his professional honor : 

" First, never to endorm any subject without his formal consent" etc. 

It is possible, then, to endorm him without his formal consent ? 

In view of the importance of this matter, I will cite a few more 
evidences of real action, physical or psychic, exercised unbeknown to 
the subject. 

8. " March 15, 1826, Mr. J. Dupotet brought together at Mr. Bouil- 
let's (No. 4 Dragon Street) several persons, to enable them to witness 
some of the phenomena of magnetism and somnambulism. Mr. 
Petit, primary instructor (instituteur primaire) at Athis, near Fromen- 
teau, who in 1818 had been cured by Mr. Dupotet, by means of the 
magnetic treatment, of several deposits, 2 and who, having then be- 
come a somnambule, has ever since shown much sensibility to mag- 
netism, kindly consented to offer himself for the following experi- 
ments : . . . . 

" Mr. Dupotet, having bandaged the somnambule's eyes, repeatedly 
held his fingers pointed toward him, at the distance of about two 
feet ; immediately there appeared in the hands and the arms, toward 

1 Voisin, " Etude sur l'Hypnotisme et sur les Suggestions chez les Alienes," p. 7. 
Paris, 1884. i DQAts. 


which the action was directed, a violent contraction. . . . Mr. 
Bourdin tried to produce the same effects ; he, too, obtained them, 
but less promptly, and in a milder form. These experiments were 
repeated to satiety. . . . While Mr. Petit was playing piquet [in 
somnambulism] Mr. Dupotet, at the instance of Mr. Ribes, brought 
his hand, from behind, near his [Petit's] elbow : the contraction previ- 
ously observed took place anew. Then, by request of Mr. Bourdois, 
he magnetized him from behind, still at the distance of more than a 
foot, with the intention of awakening him ; the keenness of the 
somnambule's interest in the game countered this action, so that in- 
stead of awakening him, it incommoded and annoyed him ; several 
times he raised his hand to the back of his head, as though he had a 
pain there ; at last he fell into a doze that seemed to be a rather light 
natural sleep, and some one having spoken to him in that state, he 
awoke with a bound, as it were. 

" A few minutes afterward Mr. Dupotet, still behind him and at 
some distance, put him again in the magnetic sleep, and the experi- 
ments began anew. Mr. Bourdois directed his hand toward one of the 
somnambule's arms, intending to make it perform a certain movement. 
After a few moments there was produced in the arm, and especially 
in the hand, a very marked agitation, which became so violent that 
Mr. Dupotet felt called upon to allay it. 

" Mr. Bouillet, lest there should rest any shadow of doubt upon the 
reality of a physical action exercised at will, proposed to blindfold 
Mr. Petit with as many bandages as anyone might wish, and to act 
upon him in that state. So his face was wrapped about down to the 
nostrils with several cravats, the chink left on each side of the nose 
was stuffed with gloves, and the whole was then covered with a black 
cravat, falling like a veil down to the neck. Then we began once 
more to make all sorts of experiments on action from a distance, and 
the same movements were in every case manifested in the parts of 
the somnambule's body toward which the hand or the foot was 
pointed. After these new tests, Mr. Dupotet having taken off the 
bandages from Mr. Petit, played a game of ecarte with him, to occupy 
his attention and to amuse him. The somnambule played with the 
same skill and still won. He played with such ardor that he was 
insensible to the influence of Mr. Bourdois, who tried in vain to act 
upon him from behind and to make him execute an order of his will. 
The play ended, the somnambule rose, walked across the parlor, 
pushing aside the chairs that were in his way, and went and sat apart 
to rest himself at a distance from the quidnuncs and experimenters 
that had wearied him. There Mr. Dupotet, who was several feet 
away from' him, awakened him ; but apparently the awakening was 
not complete, for a few moments afterward, while in the company of 
the Count de Gestas, he dozed, and a new effort had to be made to 
awaken him fully. When awake, he had no recollection of what had 
taken place during his sleep." 

The minutes were signed by Messrs. Bourdin, M. D., member of 
the Academy, President of the Commission appointed to investigate 
magnetism ; Ribes, M. D., member of the Academy of Medicine ; the 
Count de Gestas, Deputy ; Deleuze, Assistant Naturalist of the Jar- 
din des Plantes (he did not arrive till the middle of the seance) ; 
Raynal, ex-Inspector-General of the University ; Raynal, Jr., student 
of law ; Lachevardiere, printer ; Binet, Professor of Mathematics in 


the Ste. Barbe College ; Bouillet, Professor of Philosophy in the same 
college, and Corbin, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric in the College of 
Lyons. 1 

9. In another seance, January 26, 1826, after having awakened 
Mr. Petit, Mr. Dupotet endormed him again at the request of several 
persons. He was then distant from Mr. Dupotet the whole length of 
the parlor, had his back turned to him, and was talking with one of 
the company. Present at this experiment were, with others, Mr. 
Ampere, of the Academy of Sciences, and Messrs. Adelon and Ribes, 
of the Academy of Medicine. 8 

10. All means have been employed against magnetism — even lying. 
A certain young woman named Samson was cured by Mr. Dupotet. 
Mr. Recarmier, in order to destroy the effect of this cure, bethought 
him to announce in full Academy that Miss Samson had since re-en- 
tered the Hotel Dieu and there died. Mr. Dupotet having met her in 
the street, took her to the house of Mr. Husson, Secretary of the 
Academic Commission, where everybody recognized her. The only 
thing to be done was to verify by new experiments the phenomena 
she had presented six years before, but she refused obstinately, and 
her refusal suggested to the members of the Commission the idea of 
trying the action of magnetism in spite of the subject. " I felt that 
this was a sort of indirect challenge," says Mr. Dupotet, " and I made 
ready to honor it. So I began to act upon her unbeknown to her, 
and then came a sort of struggle between her and me, in which she 
was seen to put forth all her efforts to keep herself aloof from my 
influence. She showed violent agitation, and this, after being sus- 
pended during a moment of exhaustion and absolute immobility, 
reappeared with most curious characters. She, in fact, presented a 
most striking image of the ancient Sibyls ; controlled as she was by 
an irresistible force, she sprang suddenly from her armchair as those 
prophetesses from- their tripods ; nothing could divert her from this 
frenetic enthusiasm. [In magnetizing a subject against his will we 
always produce a sort of somnambulic delirium ; the subject talks 
incessantly, or else is seized by nervous spasms — in the latter case he 
must not be awakened till he is calm.] After having exhausted every 
kind of physical excitation, it occurred to us to address to her aloud 
the most aggravating speeches — such as women feel most keenly ; 
but her complete impassibility plainly showed that she heard nothing. 
As for me, standing at a certain distance from her, 'I spoke to her and 
made myself heard ; I touched her and she was conscious of my 
touch ; it was the same when there was question of awakening her ; 
the others made a noise, one might say a most deafening uproar, in try- 
ing to rouse her, but it was in vain ; then it was that, receiving from 
them a request to awaken her, all that was needed for me to succeed 
instantly was a simple act of my will." s (The subject who is in the 
magnetic sleep cannot be awakened save by the one who has en- 
dormed him, or who has been able to enter into rapport with him — 
another difference between magnetism and hypnotism, for the hypno- 
tized subject can be awakened by anybody.) 

Readers will perhaps be surprised that I quote magnetizers as one 
quotes scientific observers. It is true that I would not have done so 

1 " Le Propagateur du Magnetisme Animal," etc., p. 32. Paris, 1827. 

* Id., p. 30. 3 II, p. 52. 


ten years ago ; but since then I have found out that magnetizers are 
at least as worthy of confidence as hypnotizers, and that if there are 
among them some credulous folk who have mal-observed and mis- 
interpreted certain extraordinary phenomena, there are among hypno- 
tizers, too, many who have mal-observed and misinterpreted certain 
very ordinary ones. 

Incomplete instruction is sometimes preferable to science sophisti- 
cated by prejudices. 

That the will takes part in magnetizing action can no longer be 
denied. True, when one employs passes, the eyes, verbal suggestion, 
etc., simultaneously with will power, the latter may be superfluous, or 
at least its action is doubtful. In most cases it is certainly useless, 
for the subjects influence themselves, or else the physical action of 
the hand dispenses with mental action. But one subject that is ex- 
ceptionally sensitive suffices to prove the existence of this action, 
provided you can influence him without passes, without the eye {sans 
regard}, without words, and without involuntary suggestion. As we 
eliminate, one after another, the accessory agents, we come upon the 
true one. Hear what is said on this head by a contemporary Voluntist, 
Dr. Perronet, taking care to reduce to their true value the author's 
generalizations : 

11. "I have employed several processes," says he, " to obtain cata- 
lepsy artificially. Whatever the processes — magnetic passes or odd 
gestures made for the purpose of discharging an alleged fluid — they 
all have the same results ; whatever value they have they derive 
from theories or from beliefs subjectively preconceived. 

" Eschewing, therefore, all mimic ceremony, I was content to say, 
' Sleep ! ' and forthwith the catalepsy appeared. Nay, I dispensed with 
that formula, trifling though it was ; I concentrated all the power of 
my will within itself, I stripped it of every symbol whether mimic or 
phonic ; I condensed it, so to speak, with a view to obtain the mag- 
netic sleep in a predisposed person ; the latter without being prepared 
by any previous conversation, by any sign, or by any act that might 
physiologically account for the fact, stopped short in the middle of a 
phrase, his members and his eyes fixed in cataleptic immobility and 

" 'Why dp you sleep ? Come, awake,' said I to the subject, in order 
to intimate to the persons present the true cause of the crisis. ' You 
know well that I cannot awake,' answered the subject. ' Why ? ' ' Be- 
cause you want me to sleep.' 'What you say is false ; how do you 
know that I want you to sleep ? Did I tell you to go to sleep ? ' 'You 
did not tell me ; you say the contrary to tease me, but I know well 
that you want me to sleep.' 'What must be done to awaken you?' 
'Will it you.' 

"I willed the subject to awake, as I had willed him to sleep, that is 
to say, without manifesting outwardly by gesture or word the essence 
of my willing ; the awaking was effected rapidly. 

" I succeeded often with this experiment, and hence I infer that the 
will of the operator is the sole, or at least the preponderant, instrument 


in producing artificial catalepsy ; that in a word the stage business of 
passes, cabalistic gestures, commanding or mysterious looks {regards) 
is a supererogation. [The author forgets that all subjects are not 
mentally suggestionable.] Though I would not deny utterly the 
utility of passes, etc., I hold that they derive their power from the 
direction given by the will ; that being backed by a firm, energetic 
will, they concur in making the experiment successful, but not with- 
out the will-power : in short, that will-power alone, unaided by any 
outward act, suffices to produce catalepsy artificially. 

" The same is to be said of all the acts performed by the operator 
with a view to obtain such or such a result. The will alone gives 
efficacy to the act. Thus, for example, in virtue of a priori ideas, I have 
believed that pressure exerted by me on the pit of the stomach of a 
catalepsied person will produce manifestations of ecstatic enjoyment ; 
the result corroborated my hypothesis. I asked a friend of mine to 
exert the pressure instead of me. At once clonic spasms that were 
subjectively looked for by me, agitated the subject, and ceased the 
moment I myself touched the person that was exerting the pressure ; 
they began again when my contact was interrupted. 

" Another time, influenced by a theory of the movement of fluids 
in living organisms, I believed that on touching the feet of a catalep- 
sied subject, I should produce in him sudden contractures, and that I 
could make these disappear by touching the head and the feet simul- 
taneously. Everything happened as I had anticipated, but that is no 
proof that the physiological effects are indissolubly connected with 
these manipulations ; any other processes whatever would have suc- 
ceeded, provided I had believed in their efficacy. 

" The formula is of small account ; will-force is all. Here we may 
ponder that word of the gospel : ' The letter killeth, the spirit makcth 
alive r ,l 

Thanks to the impulse given to scientific research by the Society of 
Physiological Psychology, of which Mr. Charcot is President, these 
old discoveries of the magnetizers have been corroborated by many 
savants, and now men are zealously collecting well-observed cases 
with a view to draw therefrom theoretic conclusions. The magnet- 
izers, and in particular the Voluntists, have been treated with derision 
long enough ; it is time now to make the amend of honor to them, 
and to give cuique suum. Let us see what has been published by mem- 
bers of the society upon the part played by the will in magnetic 

In striving to determine under what conditions, and by what in- 
fluence sleep was produced in the case of Mrs. B., Mr. Peter Janet 
finds : . - 

a. That fixation of gaze {fixation du regard) was useless. 

/;. That pressing the hand favored the sleep a little and made it 

c. That the production [of sleep] was still more prompt if, instead 
of simply pressing the hand, the thumb was laid exactly against the 
thumb of the subject ; but 

1 Perronet, " Du Magnetisme Animal," pp. 15-17. Paris, 1884. 


d. That none of these processes has any influence if the thought is 
wandering, and if the will does not intervene. 

Let us make haste to say that we have to do with a monograph, not 
with a general theory. Unfortunately, this difference is too oft for- 
gotten. It is truly astonishing that physiologists that know how to 
generalize prudently when there is question of ordinary researches, 
lose their head when they deal with hypnotism. And not only lose 
their head, but believe themselves dispensed from all circumspection 
with regard to facts affirmed by magnetizers. "Magnetizers have ob- 
served this or that in a thousand cases, therefore it is fudge ; I have 
seen this or that in Mr. X. or Miss Z., therefore hypnotized persons 
behave thus and so." Hypnotism is taken to be synonymous with 
magnetism, and, lo ! there you have a generalized observation, put for- 
ward under the observer's authority, but which positively has no 
scientific value, not even an individual value, for the reason that the 
individual's peculiarities are not pointed out, and that it is not said 
whether the sleep was procured by a shining button or by passes. 
Hand a magnetizer that is familiar with experimentation Heidenhain's 
unfortunate little book, for example, and he will simply shrug his 
shoulders ; and yet Heidenhain is an eminent physiologist. There is 
a good deal more truth in Mr. Dupotet's exaggerations than in the 
scientific observations of Mr. Heidenhain. I should be embarrassed 
were I asked to point to a single page in Heidenhain that could be 
accepted without reservation. Think you that when he writes a treatise 
on hypnotism or " self-styled magnetism," he at least was careful to 
read Braid ? Not a bit of it, nor Mesmer either ! Yet, if the question 
were the action of cocaine, or of narceine, he would, no doubt, read 
up his predecessors. Such is the Fluch der bosen That, as the Ger- 
mans say. Science has spurned and ridiculed magnetism ; magnetism 
now sends the curse back home. 

So then, without generalizing, for it is certain that in most cases we 
shall not be able to demonstrate the mental action of the will, let us 
see what has been observed by unbiased experimenters in some 
privileged subjects : 

12. " One day Mr. Gibert was holding Mrs. B.'s hand to endorm 
her ; but he was visibly preoccupied and thinking of something other 
than the business in hand ; sleep did not come at all. This experi- 
ment, repeated by me many a time in various ways, has shown us [says 
Mr. Janet] that to endorm Mrs. B. o?ie must concentrate his thought 
strongly upon the order to go to sleep that one gives, and that the more the 
thought of the operator is distracted the more difficult it is to produce sleep. 
This influence of the operator's thought, extraordinary as it may seem, 
is here absolutely predominant, so that in fact it may take the place of 
all other influences. If you press Mrs. B.'s hand without any thought 
of endorming her, you do not produce sleep ; on the other hand if 
you think of endorming her without pressing her hand, you will 
succeed perfectly. So we left Mrs. B. seated at the lower end of the 


room ; then, without touching her or saying a word, Mr. Gibert, who 
was at the other end, held his thought upon willing to make her sleep; 
in three minutes lethargic sleep appeared. I repeated the same ex- 
periment many times with the utmost ease ; all that was needed was 
that (remaining, it is true, in the same room) I should think strongly 
upon my will to endorm her. Once I succeeded in endorming her 
even in spite of herself and though she was in great agitation, but it 
required five minutes of effort. It has often happened that while 
waiting for Mr. Gibert, I would remain by Mrs. B., in the same atti- 
tude of meditation, in the same silence, without any thought of 
endorming her, and then the sleep would not even begin. On the 
other hand, so soon as, without any change of attitude, I thought upon 
the order to her to sleep, the eyes of the subject would become set 
and soon lethargy began. In the second place, if the attitude of the 
persons present had suggested the sleep, I cannot explain why only 
the person that had produced it by thought, could, in the lethargy, 
produce the characteristic phenomena of contracture and attraction." 1 
[That, too, is a character of the magnetic sleep that does not exist in 
hypnotism. Consequently, they who confound the two phenomena 
and after having obtained the magnetic sleep, without knowing it, 
say that a pressure, or a mechanical excitation, produces this or that, 
are mistaken, for pressure, or excitation, as such, produces absolutely 
no effect. The literature of hypnotism is full of such inexactitudes.] 

13. "In the course of the year 1873 [says Mr. Richet], being then 
interne of the Beaujon Hospital, I made many experiments in som- 
nambulism. In only one of the subjects endormed by me was I able 
to produce somnambulism at a distance. [At present I quote only 
the experiments that were made in the same room, and which prove 
only will-action.] It was a young married woman of some 25 years, 
who, being at first with difficulty accessible to sleep, at last, from having 
been trained to the process, could be endormed with very great 
facility. At first I endormed her by passes ; then by touching her 
hand ; at last simply by entering the ward in which she was. Morn- 
ings, when I entered the ward with Professor Le Fort, chief of my de- 
partment in the hospital, I would see her at the opposite end of the 
ward immediately falling asleep. But as I did not wish her to be in 
that state when Mr. Le Fort should reach her, I would make every 
effort mentally to awaken her, and in fact she always used to awake 
a few moments before Mr. Le Fort came to her bedside." 8 

14. " The observation I report here [Dr. Hericourt is speaking] 
dates from the year 1878, and I communicated it at the time to my 
friend Mr. Charles Richet, who has kept it faithfully and prudently 
among his papers for reasons easily understood. The case was that 
of a young woman of 24 years, of Spanish descent, a widow, and 
mother of a little girl of 5 years. Mrs. D. is small, thin, very brown, 
has the pilose system greatly developed. The most thorough investi- 
gation developed no trace in her of hysteria, whether hereditary or 
individual. When I tried to produce hypnotism [magnetism is meant] 
in Mrs. D., she never had undergone any experiment of the kind. 
The first attempt, however, succeeded fully after some twelve minutes 
spent in gazing at her fixedly and holding her thumbs fast in my 

1 P. Janet, " Notes sur quelques Phenomenes du Somnambulisme." (Bull, de la 
Soc. Psych. Phys., 1885.) 

2 Ch. Richet, " Un Fait de Somnambulisme a Distance." 


hands. In the sequel the same result was obtained by simply gazing 
at her, or touching her head or her hand for not more than a few 
seconds ; at last, with still less ado, as will presently be seen. The 
state of Mrs. D. was then from the first moment one of lucid somnam- 
bulism ; she was fluent in conversation, her intelligence was quick, 
her sensibility seemed heightened, her memory was remarkable ; every 
image evoked produced an hallucination, but this phenomenon never 
appeared spontaneously. [The state then was polyideic, with tendency 
to passive ?nonoideis?n.~\ At the same time there was total insensibility 
to pain, and the members which were the seat of a very definite mus- 
cular superexcitability were put in catalepsy by a simple touch, without 
modifying in the least the psychic state. [That is a very common 
phenomenon in magnetism, and it proves : 1 — That it is not necessary 
to open the subject's eyes to produce catalepsy ; and, 2 — That cata- 
lepsy may co-exist with somnambulism, and that, therefore, it is incor- 
rect to regard these two states as distinct phases. In general, all 
classifications based solely on external characters must necessarily 
be defective, for all the external characters may be produced in all 
hypnotic states and even in the state of waking. Only the psychic 
characters can serve as a basis for a valid classification. Somnam- 
bulism is a cerebral phenomenon first of all, and therefore we must not 
seek elsewhere but in the brain the differentiating characters of its 
phases. We may only say, for example, cataleptic or simply paralytic 
aideia, or polyideia, to indicate the cases where the members are limp, 
or where they keep the posture given them.] At the awaking, which 
I produced by drawing my finger over the upper lids, the memory of 
what had taken place was wholly lost ; but in the second state it made 
an unbroken chain of the facts of her waking state and those of her 
state of sleep. 

"As I have said, I endormed Mrs. D. with greater facility each suc- 
ceeding day. In fact, after a fortnight or so of this special training, 
I no longer needed, in order to obtain that result, either contact or 
the power of the eye. I had only to will, using no sort of gesture 
whatever that might betray my intention. If she were engaged in 
animated conversation with a number of persons while I was in some 
corner in an attitude of the utmost indifference, I would soon see her, 
as I willed, trying to ward off the sleep that was coming upon her, 
and at last succumbing, or taking up again the thread of her thoughts, 
accordingly as I either continued or ceased to apply my thought to 
the result to be. obtained. And I might even gaze fixedly on my sub- 
ject, hold her fast by the thumbs or the wrists, and make all imagin- 
able passes of the sort used by professional magnetizers, yet if it was 
not my will' to endorm her she remained wide awake and conscious 
of my powerlessness." 1 

15. Finally, a fourth observation of this kind was communicated to 
the Society by Mr. Glay. It was made by Mr. Desart, sometime interne 
of the Paris hospitals, and was published in the Tribune Me'dicale 
(May 16 and 30, 1875): "The case was that of a girl of 14 years 
whom Mr. Desart was called, in 1869, to treat for a serious hysteric 
affection — paralysis of sight and smell, perversion of taste, loss of 
power of movement and of sensibility in the right arm and both legs, 
cesophagism, rachialgia, suicidal tendency. Mr. Desart tells how he 
came to think of endorming her. The spasm of the oesophagus was 

1 J. Hdricourt, Bull, de la Soc. de Psych. Physiol., 1885. 


such that she had to be fed with a tube ; but swayed as she was by 
the thought of suicide, she every time had a fierce struggle with us 
to prevent the introduction of food. It took three of us, often four, 
to overcome her resistance. After the food was introduced, the 
patient would strive in every way to bring on vomiting, would keep 
expectorating and shouting for hours at a time. 

" Her parents, whose intelligence was below the average, and who 
were full of prejudices, were opposed to the employment of narcotics 
or any agent capable of quieting her. In these circumstances the 
patient was failing rapidly and giving us much anxiety. The strug- 
gle for the introduction of nourishment lasted from early in June till 
the end of October. Then it was that I proposed to the parents 
a method I had for some time had in mind — magnetic sleep. All my 
knowledge of magnetism was limited to a few recollections of what I 
had seen when I was an interne under Aran. I had often seen that 
physician endorm an hysteriac, and I said to myself that I might 
doubtless greatly improve the condition of Miss J. if I could make 
sure of her digesting her food, by producing after each meal a state 
of sleep, or at least a sufficient calm." 

So Mr. Desart tried to endorm her by means of passes, as he had 
seen Aran do. He was successful and fed his patient without diffi- 
culty. In trying to discover how the sleep was produced he was led 
to observe the following phenomena : 

" I observed," he says, " that when, in making passes, I allowed 
myself to be distracted by the parents' conversation, I never was able 
to produce sufficiently deep sleep, even after trying for a long time. 
So, then, the intervention of my will had to count for a good deal. 
But was that sufficient without the aid of any outward manifestation ? 
That was what I wished to know. I therefore came one day, before 
the hour set for her awaking, and, without looking at the patient, 
without making any gesture, I mentally ordered her to awake. I was 
obeyed instantly. As I had willed, the delirium and the outcries 
began. I then sat before the fire, my back to the bed of the patient, 
whose face was turned toward the door of the chamber, and talked 
with the persons present, without appearing to pay any attention to 
Miss J.'s cries. Then, at a given moment, no one noticing what was 
going on in my mind, I gave the mental order to sleep, and sleep 
followed. More than one hundred times was the experiment made, 
and modified in various ways ; the order used to be given at a sign 
made to me by Dr. X., and the effect was always produced. One day 
I arrived when the patient was awake and in full delirium ; she con- 
tinued her outcries and her agitation regardless of my presence. So 
I sat down and awaited the signal from Dr. X. That given and the 
mental order formulated, the patient grew quiet and fell asleep. 
* You knew that I was in the room for some time ? ' ' No, sir ! I 
knew of your presence only when I felt sleep coming upon me. Then 
I was conscious that you were in front of the fire.' " ' 

This last remark explains how mental transmission, following a con- 
centration of thought, may simulate vision. At the same time, with 
the act of will, some sensations are also transmitted, and produce in 

1 E. Glay, "A propos d'une Observation de Sommeil provoque a Distance." {Bull, 
Soc. P. P. 1885.) 


the mind of the subject a visual image of the operator and his sur- 
roundings — a veridical hallucination, as Mr. Frederic Myers well 
calls it. 

Oftener still the will-action, though not transmitted as such, simply 
strengthens the physical action of the magnetism, which can be exerted 
without this special concentration ; and there are all possible degrees 
— purely ideoplastic action, ideoplastic and physical, purely physical 
and physical and mental. The first (purely ideoplastic action) is the 
most common, the last (action physical and mental) the rarest. 
Physical action holds the middle place as regards frequency, but it 
comes in so often, or rather is so often perceptible, that it is easily 

I wish to speak of this latter category of mediate will-transmission 
before I pass on to the more extraordinary phenomena of suggestion. 

When your hand acts upon a waking patient, the concurrence of 
ideoplasty is always to be supposed, but one can experiment on sleeping 
infants, and in that case it is not easy, especially if it is a first experi- 
ment, to show that imagination is the sole cause of the action. Such 
experiment does not demonstrate (at least not directly) mental action 
of the will, but it does demonstrate physical action, and the former 
is not comprehensible without the latter. I mention these experi- 
ments with the more pleasure because they have brought about the 
conversion of an old sinner, a man highly respected and of great 
worth — I mean Dr. Liebeault, apostle of the theory of suggestion and 
father of the hypnotic school at Nancy. For many years he, like 
everybody, confounded hypnotism with magnetism, and rejected the 
theory of physical action. It was the little children that converted 
him, and, singularly enough, a suggestion from Mr. Bernheim made 
the conversion complete. 

" We sought," writes Mr. Liebeault, " to repeat our experiments upon 
a still younger child, according to the advice given by Professor Bernheim. 
And at bottom this is the same mode of experimenting long ago 
employed with advantage by Dupotet and Dumont upon three juvenile 
subjects, with a purely physiological end in view, though they acted 
at a distance, in this differing from us. A little child, Louise Meyer, 
one year old, was presented to us in such condition as we wanted. 
For four weeks the child had cried night and day, and in spite of the 
care bestowed upon her by a very excellent physician, no change for 
the better had yet appeared. To us she seemed to have continuous 
colic pains, the result of obstinate constipation. Now and then, per- 
haps, she would sleep five or six minutes at a time. During one of 
these naps, consequently unbeknown to the babe, we prolonged that state 
and kept her twenty minutes under our hands, till there was a sign of 
awaking. From that moment, as by enchantment, she cried no more, 
slept even a good part of the night, and was brought back to us the 
following day quiet and beginning to have stools. Three seances 
during the following days, but without her sleeping, completed the 


This fact may seem extraordinary to a physician who knows only 
drugs, but for magnetizers it is an everyday matter, and I have verified 
it over and over again. And there is no need to suppose that a one- 
year old baby has read the works of Dupotet, or attended one of 
Mr. Donato's seances, to acquire the robust faith that is indispensable 
for hypnotic action : all the same, it can be cured. 

Mr. Liebeault cites forty-five similar observations, and, like an honest 
man and one that knows how to observe, he concludes thus : " In 
view of the curative effects we have just recounted, we are led to 
admit a direct action of the neurility — [but why of the neurility 
alone ? The whole body acts physically ; nerve-action and mind- 
action do but emphasize and confirm that action. Among the facts I 
have verified is this, that the speediness of the curative action depends 
largely upon the agreeable impressions received just before by the mag- 
netizer, but it is always exercised more or less when an ailing organism 
is magnetized by a man that is in sound health, even though his will 
be not specially intense] — we are led to admit a direct action trans- 
mitted from man to man, and possessing this essential, irreducible, 
sui-generis character, that it can re-establish the physiological func- 
tionment of organs. A nerve-undulation was, in the cases of all our 
patients, transmitted from us to their nervous systems, and conse- 
quently, though in what way we know not, gave a beneficial impulse 
to the diseased organs. Though as regards magnetism I am a psycho- 
logist, and for a long time have been opposed to the theory of the 
fluid by externation, 1 I can no longer deny that certain phenomena 
are due to the action of one organism on another, without any con- 
scious intervention of the subject under experiment. ... It 
were no inconsiderable advance were these two different views both 
accepted, for they enable us to account for many facts which before 
seemed inexplicable by either of them alone. ... In the mean- 
time we invite the true friends of science, those who, being independent, 
do not believe in the infallibility of academicians — we invite them to 
verify our experiments. The work is easy, and we are sure that they 
will confirm our conclusions, even as we have confirmed those of the 
Liege magnetizer, Mr. Longpretz." 2 

These words were written three years ago. Since then not a single 
savant has tried to verify Mr. Liebeault's assertions: There has been 
a hundred years of waiting, and we can wait a while longer. Unfor- 
tunately, the matter involves a difficulty — that of finding an inde- 
pendent medical man. 

Rara avis! 

1 Du fuide par externation. 

2 Dr. Liebeault, "Etude sur le Zoomagn6tisme," pp. 4, 24, 28. Paris, Nancy, 




THE phenomenon next to be considered constitutes a special 
case of will-transmission — a deferred transmission with time 
fixed. In reality it is not the transmission that is deferred or re- 
tarded, but only the execution of the order given ; the action is men- 
tal suggestion " with a long time to run " {a tongue eche'ancc). 1 

Everybody has heard of. deferred mental suggestions with a long 
time to run ; they have become commonplace. You order an hypno- 
tized or a magnetized subject to perform some act after he awakes — 
to-morrow, the day after, a week, even some months hence. Awakened, 
he will have no thought whatever of the matter ; but when the hour 
comes he will, perforce, carry out your order, knowing neither how 
nor why the thought has come to him. Generally the subject assimi- 
lates the thought, so to speak, and thinks he is acting of his own 
accord, as if to prove the truth of Spinoza's dictum, that " we know 
not the causes that determine our actions." 

Dr. Gibert has employed mental, as others have employed verbal, 
suggestion in producing this phenomenon, and he has obtained no less 
satisfactory results. 

Not the least surprising thing in this class of facts, of themselves 
surprising enough, is, that certain somnambules with whom the trans- 
mission of orders to be executed at once is unsuccessful or difficult, 
are highly susceptible to long-interval suggestions. 

To explain this fact as far as it may be explained, we must recall 
what we have already said about two different unconscious strata — 
one strong, manifesting itself in somnambulism ; the other weak, over- 
borne by the first, not subject to our direct investigation, but ready 
at the propitious moment to re-acquire its right to act. Transmission 
seems to be more easy in this latter stratum, and seems even to take 
place very often, yet can give us no plain proof of its existence. 
This is the domain of Leibnitz's " imperceptible sensations." These 
cannot manifest themselves immediately, but give them the time 
needed in order to work up into the higher strata, and they will 
appear at the surface. 

" Mental suggestions," says Mr. Janet, " may be given to Mrs. B. 
in another way, and have quite other success. The result is uncer- 
tain when you bid her execute the order immediately, during the 
sleep ; it is much surer when you mentally order her to execute the 
order later, some time after awaking." 

1 £ck^ance, the falling due of a promissory note, etc. — Translator. 


i " October 8, Mr. Gibert gave a suggestion in this way : without 
uttering a word, he brought his forehead near that of Mrs. B. during 
the lethargic sleep [thus it was a state more or less aideu], and for a 
few moments concentrated his thought on the order he gave her. 
Mrs. B. seemed to experience a painful impression, and uttered groans 
[as we have seen, p. 90 supra, this impression may be so strong as to 
bring on an attack of hysteria] ; in other respects the sleep seemed 
not in the least disturbed. Mr. Gibert told no one the order he had 
given, but simply wrote it on a piece of paper which he put in an envel- 
ope. The next day I came back to Mrs. B. to see the effect of this 
suggestion, which was to be executed between 11 and 12 o'clock. At 
11:30 the woman showed the greatest agitation, left the kitchen 
where she had been, entered a room and took away a tumbler ; then, 
overcoming her timidity, she decided to enter the parlor, where I was, 
and excitedly asked if I had not called her. Upon my replying in 
the negative, she went away, and kept going up stairs and down 
several times between the kitchen and parlor, though she brought noth- 
ing. That day she did nothing more, for soon she fell into a sleep, 
being endormed by Mr. Gibert at a distance. During her sleep she 
said : ' I trembled when I came and asked you if anyone had called 
me ; I had to come — it was rather inconvenient to come with this 
tray — why am I asked to carry glasses ? What was I going to say ? 
Wasn't it that I don't want you to do that ? — I was to say something 
to you on coming.' 

" On opening the envelope, I saw that Mr. Gibert had the day 
before ordered Mrs. B. ' to offer a glass of water to each of those 
gentlemen.' Here again it must be acknowledged that the experi- 
ment was not a complete success. The suggestion was not executed ; 
but can it be denied at least that it was taken in ? " 

2. " Here is a more significant experiment. October 10, we, Mr. 
Gibert and I, agreed to make the following suggestion : ' To-morrow 
at noon lock the doors of the house.' I wrote the suggestion on a piece 
of paper, which I kept about me and which I would not show to any- 
one. Mr. Gibert made the suggestion as before, bringing his fore- 
head near that of Mrs. B. The next day when I arrived, a quarter 
before 12 o'clock, I found the house barricaded and the door locked. 
I learned on inquiry that Mrs. B. had just locked it. When I asked 
why she had done that singular act, she answered: 'I felt much 
fatigued, and did not wish you to be able to enter in order to endorm 
me.' Mrs. B. was at the moment much excited. She kept roaming 
about in the garden, and I saw her pluck a rose and go to the letter- 
box at the entrance gate. These acts are unimportant, but it is 
curious to observe that they were just the acts that the evening before 
we had thought of ordering her to do. But we decided to order 
another act, that of locking the doors ; yet the thought of those other 
acts doubtless occupied Mr. Gibert's mind while he was giving the 
order and she too was influenced thereby." Rather in this case the 
transmission was doubly unconscious; transmission of the uncon- 
scious of the first order (in the operator) to the unconscious of the 
second order (in the subject). 

3. " October 13, Mr. Gibert ordered her, still mentally, the next day 
at noon to take a spread umbrella and twice to go the round of the 
garden. That next day she was much excited at noon, twice made 
the round of the garden, but did not spread the umbrella. A little 


while afterward I endormed her to quiet her agitation, which was 
becoming greater and greater. The first words she spoke were 
these: 'Why did you make me walk round the garden? I looked 
like a fool. If only the weather were like yesterday's, though. But 
to-day I should have been a laughing-stock.' It was a very fine day, 
the day before it rained heavily. She did not wish to spread the 
umbrella for fear of being laughed at." 

In what state (of the subject) were these deferred suggestions 
possible ? We shall soon see ; but it is a long story. 

In the beginning of the experiments Mrs. B. presented only two 
quite distinct states : deep sleep (aideia) and light sleep, i. e., som- 
nambulism properly so-called (polyideia, passive or active). The 
former state was usually characterized by complete muscular immo- 
bility (paralytic aideia) ; the latter by excessive sensibility, with 
facility of movement, and with intelligence. 

These two states alternated indefinitely, that is to say, after having 
manifested a certain intelligent spontaneity, the subject, as though 
fatigued, relapsed into aideic immobility, passing thence anew into 
the lucidity of somnambulism. That was a sign of maximum hyp- 
notic sensibility, for at a slightly lower degree the subject does not 
return again to aideia, but passes little by little from sleep to the 
waking state, or rests a little while in a state very like normal sleep 
(with only this difference, that rapport continues), then awakes. 
This transition may last several hours, but it is always accompanied 
by sensibility, whereas subjects that are in the state of maximum 
sensibility pass to and fro between these two principal states, without 
waking of their own accord till they have had a night's natural sleep, 
and sometimes even they do not come to themselves the following 

Probably there was between these two principal states an inter- 
mediate monoideic state of longer or shorter duration. 

Not to enter into details, we may affirm, on the basis of Mr. Janet's 
own account, that not one of the three well-known states — catalepsy, 
lethargy and somnambulism — as described by Mr. Charcot, existed at 
this period. 

But sometime after, Mr. Janet went to the Salpetriere to study the 
hypnotic triad, and took it away in his head, slightly confused (as he 
himself confessed to me) ; so he set to work to discover the three 
phases in Mrs. B. " If these states did not exist in her," said he, 
" might not one try to produce them ? " But that was not the work of a 
moment. Mr. Janet had to be " infinitely persistent," to experiment, 
to verify; above all as regards the "lethargy," the production of 
which was a " a very laborious " task. At last he succeeded in pro- 
ducing (that is the word) six different states. 

" New studies undertaken with the same end in view," says Mr. 


Janet, "verified the preceding results, complicating them a little, how- 
ever, I must say." A little is, perhaps, not the word. 

However that may be, Mrs. B. at that time presented, over and 
above the three principal phases — catalepsy, lethargy and somnam- 
bulism — three intermediate phases, lethargic catalepsy, lethargic 
somnambulism and somnambulism with the eyes open, or cataleptic 

Plainly, the subject, restrained in her natural tendencies, defended 
herself as she could. 

But Mr. Janet, to bring more order into this vicious circle " made 
the subject go through, in one direction or in the other, the whole 
series of these states." And then, the subject defended herself 
so well that she manifested a seventh phase, called by Mr. Janet 
lethargic catalepsy ; then an eighth, som?iambulic lethargy (that is .as 
though we were to speak of a black white), which was added to the 
lethargic somnambulism already mentioned. 

The latter state has special interest for us, for it was in that state 
that the deferred mental suggestions were given (by bringing the 
foreheads of the magnetizer and the subject together). These sug- 
gestions could not be carried- out immediately, but they could be in a 
subsequent more active phase. It is important that we understand 
what that phase was. 

In lethargic somnambulism there is still relaxation of the muscles, as 
in the deeper state preceding it ; there is still insensibility, but 
already certain moral phenomena come into view which were absent 
in the preceding state. The subject begins to dream aloud {somnam- 
bulic dreaming, which sometimes deserves to be called somnambulic 
delirium); he regains sensibility and complains if he is hurt in any 
way physically, or should he seem not to notice hurts he will recollect 
them soon in the state that follows. 

This remark of Mr. Janet's is a very ingenious one, for this is pre- 
cisely the moment for the latent perceptions of the second order, 
which await a more mobile state (the lucid somnambulism of Mr. 
Janet) in order to be able to manifest themselves. Once the lucid 
somnambulism (polyideia) has appeared " new suggestions are nearly 

Lethargic somnambulism, then, is strictly the same state described 
by me in the case of Mrs. M. as monoideic, only it is a little more 
advanced, a little more polyideic (dreaming aloud: dreams are always 
hallucinational), and a little more active (the subject complained of 
hurts) ; that is to say, I acted on Mrs. M. in the state of nascent mono- 
ideism, in. which she was more passive, whereas Mr. Janet acted on 
Mrs. B. in a state of definite monoideism. Therefore I was able to act 
immediately,' whereas Messrs. Janet and Gibert were obliged to in- 

1 I. e., to act, and make the subject act, immediately. — Translator. 


fluence the unconscious of the second order, already overborne by the 
unconscious of the first order, and which, consequently, had to await 
its turn to be raised to a higher grade. 

These distinctions are fine-drawn, I know, but we cannot do with- 
out them. But I may remark that it is difficult, if not impossible, to 
obtain all these gradations in one subject ; subjects, in fact, are char- 
acterized by predominant tendencies toward such or such a state, 
and it is enough if, with a little persistence, one can obtain just a 
glimpse of these flitting phases. Hence, I am not raising objections 
against Mr. Janet, who is a very conscientious observer ; I am only 
verifying the shades of difference between states. 

I myself reached the conviction, by experimenting on Mrs. B., that, 
with her, immediate suggestions l seldom or never came to anything, 
because a direct mental order 2 excited her overmuch and produced a 
kind of somnambulic monomania, which always interferes with immedi- 
ate transmission. Hence it was that we have seen her brine to an 
end on the following day, on the occasion of another suggestion that 
failed, the execution of an order given her by me. 

As for the phases, Mr. Janet obtained even a ninth — somnambulic 
catalepsy — and that completed the series for the time being. After that 
ninth state, the first state came back, and so on. The succession be- 
came more and more rapid, till at last it was no longer a somnambule, 
but a hurdy-gurdy. At first the crank had to be turned — excuse me ! 
— the thumb had to be pressed to make the subject pass through all the 
states in succession, from lethargy to catalepsy, or one had to blow 
upon her eyes to make her traverse them in the reverse order ; but 
later these means were no longer needed, for the subject went like a 

Here, observe, pressing on the thumb takes the place of " pressure 
on the top of the head," or blowing on the subject ; but an air from 
an opera would have dene as well. " The cause of this procession of 
states is still obscure," says Mr. Janet. For me it is very clear. All 
the states that have been imagined, or that will yet be imagined, pre- 
sent to us one thing only — sleep more or less profound. More or less 
profound sleep means : 

a. Partial paralysis of the brain (polyideia) ; or 

b. Incomplete paralysis of the brain (monoideia); s or 

c. Total paralysis of the brain (aideia). 

But as the paralysis we observe in hypnotism (I use the word in its 

1 P. e., suggestions to be executed immediately. — Translator. 

s 7. e., an order to be executed straightway. — Translator. 

3 In the original the first two phases of paralysis are called paralysie partiellc, and 
paralysie incomplete. The difference is that in partial paralysis a part, some, of the 
cerebral organs, or centers, are paralyzed, others not ; while in incomplete paralysis 
all the cerebral organs are paralyzed, "but not completely. — Translator. 


broadest sense) is not a strictly pathological paralysis, but a physi- 
ological state of inhibition, this inhibition, or relative paralysis, must 
always be accompanied by an evolution of force, 1 that is to say, by a 
relative exaltation, which equilibrates it. The sum of the nerve- 
energy remains about the same, but one portion of the brain loses 
what another portion wins. Consequently, though the psychic field 'is 
always more or less narrowed in somnambulism, and even because of 
this narrowing, the psychic functions may gain in quality what they 
have lost in quantity. 

Every inhibitive cause — and the inhibitory power of a cause does 
not depend upon that cause solely, but on a relation between it and 
the field of action and the surroundings for the time being — every 
inhibitive cause, I say, will make the subject advance from polyideia 
toward aideia, and every dynamogenic cause will make it advance 
in the contrary direction. 

Now, it must be remembered that the brain is not the only nerve- 
center of the organism. 

The new distribution of the vital energy, the apparition of the 
plus or the minus, is seldom restricted to the brain alone ; it extends 
to other centers — cerebellum, bulb, spinal cord, ganglia. If the brain 
loses, all these are the gainers, and that according to the relations, 
whether hereditary or acquired, that attach to those centers. Now, 
by the very nature of this admirable organization of our economy, 
there exists a certain physiological antagonism between the action of 
the brain and that of the automatic centers — cerebellum, bulb and 
spinal cord — and, on the other hand, between the cerebro-spinal sys- 
tem and the ganglionary. 

Besides these primary antagonisms, there are partial antagonisms 
characteristic of the individual or of the moment, and from this we 
can see the complexity of the phenomena that may result. 

Suppose the action of the brain to be for a moment done away 
(aideic state), then the automatic centers will profit by this : there will 
be an exaggeration of the reflex actions, as in a decapitated frog. But 
the vital energy, having left the brain more or less completely, may 
withdraw into the cerebellum rather than into the cord, and, then, 
instead of inanimate reflex action, so to speak, we shall have a series 
of coordinated automatic movements, we shall have a somnambulism 
exteriorly active, and more or less intelligent, in proportion to the con- 
currence yielded by the brain to the cerebellum. Again, if the energy 
goes chiefly to the cord, it may by preference seek the anterior fasci- 
culi, and in that case there will be an enhancement of contractions 
(lethargic aideia, or lethargy as defined by Mr. Charcot), with pro- 
found and mechanical neuro-muscular excitability that may take the 
more durable form of general contracture — that is, of tetanic aideia 

' Dynamog/nie. 


— or the evolution of force (dynamogc'nie) may manifest itself in the 
posterior fasciculi and give rise to reflex hyperaesthesia, in which the 
slightest superficial excitations will be enough to bring about con- 
tracture (Charcot's somnambulic contracture, which, however, is by 
no means peculiar to the somnambulic state alone). This hyperses- 
thesia may be followed by complete anaesthesia, if inhibition should 
give place to the state of exaltation ; and, supposing a like thing to 
take place in the anterior fasciculi, we shall have, furthermore, com- 
plete paralysis with relaxation of the muscles — that is, simply para- 
lytic aideia. 

Each part of the nervous system — every ganglion, every fasciculus, 
each cell, one might say, may be excited or paralyzed momentarily ; 
no rigorous order, no regular and inflexible classification of these 
several complexus is to be thought of. All the external characters of 
somnambulism in general — anaesthesia, hyperaesthesia, catalepsy, con- 
tracture, neuro-muscular excitability — can be produced in degrees 
corresponding to the general conditions of the moment, in all hypnotic 
phases — nay, in the waking state. 

Consequently, it is a waste of time to define over-nicely in detail 
the combinations of the external signs ; we add one to another pretty 
much as we please ; we modify them, change them about at will, and 
if there is in these combinations anything essential or fundamental, 
that surely is the psychic state, the state of the brain itself, and that 
state is just a sleep, more or less deep — polyideia, monoideia, aideia. 1 

On this canvas (with very highly sensitive subjects) you may broider 
what you will. 

Sketch me any state you choose ; bring together at random the 
most contradictory characters ; let the sketch be fantastical — a state 
somnambulo-lethargo-catalepti-tetanic — and I will show it you real- 
ized within three days. 

If right after any excitation the hypnotic phase changes, that is 
because the excitation acted either to endorm more profoundly, or to 
bring the subject nearer to wakefulness, and that natural change 
carries with it a host of accidental characters that you have impressed 
upon the subject by passes and on-breathings {souffles), the physical 
action of which you deny ; by verbal suggestion, by habitude, by 
ideorganic association ; finally, sometimes by mental suggestion. 
Thus have Braid and his successors sometimes practiced magnetism 
unawares and without seeming to do so. 

Mr. Janet has done so in perfect good faith, though he still con- 
founds hypnotism with magnetism, calling Mrs. B.'s sleep hypnotic, 
though she never has been hypnotized. 

1 The question of the phases is too complex to be cleared up by a few remarks ; 
nor was it my intention to do so. I wished only to define a few points relating to our 
main object. 


" Inasmuch as mental suggestion," says he, " sufficed to endorm 
Mrs. B., it must needs also suffice to transfer her from one phase of 
the sleep to another. The supposition was easily verified. Mrs. B. 
was in lethargic somnambulism. While making mental suggestion, 
without touching the subject, I kept thinking simply this: 'I will 
that you sleep.' In a few moments she was in somnambulic lethargy 
[that is to say, in a sleep a little deeper]. I repeat the same mental 
order ; she sighs, and forthwith is in lethargy, then in cataleptic lethargy, 
and every time that I take up that thought again, she thus enters a 
new state. 

" She passes thus through all the phases, and comes back to her 
first state. One thing to be noted is, that the mental order always 
made the subject advance in the same direction. She was once 
more in lethargic somnambulism, and I essayed to make her revert 
to lucid somnambulism. Instead of thinking ' Sleep on ! ' I thought 
' Awake ! ' " 

In the beginning Mr. Janet did not succeed ; by a force of habit 
that we can understand, the subject passed into a profounder state ; 
but little by little the unconscious grasped her master's thought, and 
the succession of the phases proceeded according to the unuttered 
wish of the magnetizer. " The magnetizer's thought, then," concludes 
the author, " may by an inexplicable influence, directly verifiable, 
however, make the subject pass through the several phases in either 

So, then, here is proof direct that the phases can be elicited men- 
tally, as were the several psychic states in Braid's " phrenhypnotism." 

I would not have anyone suppose that my criticism is an attack 
upon Mr. Janet. In fact, the question is not about Mr. Janet's 
opinions at all. »His conclusions are very moderate, very discreet, 
and cannot be attacked. I have simply profited by the occasion 
offered and analyzed the facts published by this author — facts which 
I regard as furnishing the strongest arguments against the schematic 
tendencies of Mr. Charcot's school. These Mr. Janet has involun- 
tarily reduced ad absurdum, while meaning to serve them. 

As for his own conclusions, they are as follows : 

First, he admonishes the reader that ''one must not draw any 
general conclusion from a monograph ;" then he explains himself 
more clearly : " Some lay great stress upon the phases of hypnotism, 
and regard them as states entirely distinct from one another ; others 
see in them only phenomena without significance, produced by the 
operator artificially. The facts that I have stated, and in particular 
the manner in which they were observed, do not agree with either of 
these extremes. They show that the three primary states have no 
such high importance, for we can call forth several other states as 
well characterized and as lasting. The number of these, I believe, is 


in no wise fixed j at first I observed six, and later nine. The number 
of these phases remained the same through some fifteen seances, but in 
the later seances I was forced to recognize the existence of a new 
state, as yet rather indistinct, but plainly forming. . . . No doubt, 
with more practice on the part of the subject and greater skill on the 
part of the operator, other states still may be determined." 1 

But neither does Mr. Janet view these phases as merely accidental 
phenomena, and he is right. A state artificially produced is always a 
resultant of the operator's personal influences and of the subject's 
physiological nature or idiosyncrasy. But the more mobile the subject 
(in the Puysegurian sense of the word), the more do these first 
influences prevail. Here is an experiment I made in presence of 
Mr. Janet and the other gentlemen at Havre : I asked Mr. Janet to 
mention a state in which catalepsy of the arm is impossible. He 
instanced one of those lethargic states with complete relaxation of 
the muscles. Without a word, I seized the arm of the subject (who, 
however, had not been endormed by me) ; I raised it, and it fell ; 
thus, no catalepsy. I began again with a little insistence ; again the 
arm dropped, but slowly. I raised it the third time, with intention to 
see catalepsy make its appearance, and the arm remained outstretched, 
and retained the position given to it. I was not successful in a second 
experiment, wherein it was attempted to produce the continuation of 
movements begun and not belonging 2 to a given phase ; but Mr. Janet, 
too, did not succeed at the first attempt. At last, when Mr. Janet's 
faith with regard to the value of the phases began to be unsettled, 
the subject, too, or rather her unconscious, became rattled ; states got 
mixed, were passed over two or three at a bound, so to speak ; and I 
do believe that to-day this whole edifice, so patiently built up, is in 
ruins for the want of a foundation. 

Were these facts not sufficient to make an end once for all of this 
tangled, idle question, I might add that when Mr. Gibert (who did not 
believe in the phases) endormed the subject, the phases did not ap- 
pear. Moral' — Beware of mental suggestion ! 

Is contact necessary for deferred mental suggestion ? Hand-con- 
tact seems indifferent ; contact of the forehead facilitates, perhaps, 
the inoculation, according to Mr. Gibert. But the interesting fact 
— observed, as I believed, by me in the case of Mrs. B. — is that 
" psychic inoculation " seems painful to the subject. She always sub- 
mits to it with difficulty, struggling and re-acting with a sort of con- 
vulsion. Then the "psychic virus" becomes, little by little, assimi- 
lated, and the subject grows calm. Could the subject tell us 

1 Pierre Janet, " Les Phases Interme'diaires de l'Hypnotisme" {Rev. Sclent., May 
8, 1S86, pp. 577-S7). 

2 Continuation des moiwements commences et etrangere a une phase donne'e. £tran- 
gere is no doubt a misprint for Strangers.- — Translator. 


straightway what has just been inculcated into her ? I think not ! 
Her bearing does not betray it, and, indeed, were it otherwise she 
would be capable of carrying out at once the order given, and that is 
not the case. Consequently there is reason to believe that the inocu- 
lation takes place from the conscious to the unconscious of the second 
order j that the traces impressed 1 are too faint to appear at once upon 
the scene of the cerebral life, but that they persist and are retained in 
the lower strata of memory, not to reappear till the moment when 
the hour associated with them shall have struck. Then the dynamic 
virus frees itself from the oppression of conscious thoughts that have 
been keeping it confined in shadow ; the suggested thoughts take pos- 
session of the psychic field, and bring about a sort of almost somnam- 
bulic monomania which struggles for a time with the normal polyideia. 
Then, sometimes the definiteness of the suggested ideas is effaced in 
the tussle with the normal state ; sometimes they succeed more or 
less in getting in among the conscious thoughts and in being realized 
outwardly. 2 

If the struggle is a long one, and the subject, excited, disturbed, 
irritated, grows more and more absorbed in his monomania, without 
getting as far as a precise and immediate execution of the order, then 
what happens is what happened during my stay at Havre — the sub- 
ject falls asleep by automatic psychic influence. 

And then calm is restored. The brain takes repose in a transient 
state of aideia. 



THERE remains for us only one more class of facts — that com- 
prising cases of action at a distance. These phenomena surely 
are the most extraordinary and the hardest to explain. True, when 
once you grant mental action, i. e., the influence of human thought 
neighbor to our own, the question of distance becomes secondary. 
They who are content with mystic notions might even hold that 
thought, being independent of matter (unfortunately it is not), can 
act through the distance hence to the moon as well as it can forehead 
to forehead. But the method of positive science does not allow us to 
go beyond experience, save step by step. It is well to recall with 

1 Perfttes. 

2 The many bold and some times rather odd metaphors of this paragraph are the 
author's own. — Translator. 


regard to this subject the wise words of the "Hippocrates of Mag- 
netism : " 

"The impressions," says Deleuze, " produced by objects are fainter 
in the ratio of the distance at which the objects are situate. The 
farther we are from an object, the fewer rays of light does it send to 
our eyes. The sound of a bell is reduced in proportion as we increase 
our distance, till at last it is no longer perceptible. Impressions made 
upon somnambules must in like manner be weakened by distance. 
Hence, from this, that a somnambule feels the action of his magnetizer 
20 paces away, it does not follow that he will feel it in like manner at 
20,000. . . . These limits are not known ; they are far or nigh, 
according to the measure of the somnambule's sensibility ; but there 
they are, and we must take care not to set them further back than is 
warranted by decisive experience." 1 

There is still another source of possible error, in view of which 
we must exercise the utmost discretion, not only as regards a 
greater or less range, but also with respect to action from a distance 
in general. 

We must needs allow that certain subjects are able to perceive 
others' thoughts ; but we do not yet know how this is done. Now if, 
as Morin holds, mental suggestion proves only an extraordinary 
exaltation of the perceptive faculties, that perception may be had at 
two paces or at twenty in one room, but not through a partition, and 
completely unbeknown to the subject. Here doubt is quite in place, 
and we see that the contrary supposition is not to be admitted without 
sufficient experimental evidence. Hence it is that, having already 
verified in a way that left no doubt in my mind, mental suggestion 
from anear, even unbeknown to the subject, I did not feel at all 
justified in accepting the facts published by Messrs. Gibert and Janet; 
so I went to Havre to make sure of them. Here, undoubtedly, is the 
question's coie: all depends on action at a distance. We can have 
no decisive idea of the process of transmission from anigh until we 
know whether this transference is possible only under conditions of 
ordinary perception, or whether it can manifest itself even beyond the 
probable range of our senses. And at the same time the whole theory 
of magnetism must, of necessity, take a new shape. 2 

But on the other hand it is to be remarked that once we concede 
transmission from anear, independent of all normal perception, the ques- 
tion of distance becomes secondary, inasmuch as action at a kilo- 
meter's distance will not surprise us much more than action at the 
distance of a meter, and that because of the very nature of the 
phenomenon, which in that case assumes the special character of a 

1 Deleuze, "Hist. Crit. du Magnetisme Animal," i., p. iSo. Paris, 1S13. 

2 This point is elucidated by Dr. H6ricourt in his article " Somnambulisme aa 
dehors de l'Hysterie " {Rev. Scientijique ; June 28, 1884). 


transmission sui generis, like telephonic and radiophonic transmission, 
and independent of direct sense-perception. 

Of course Deleuze's reservations still retain their validity, and we 
must advance slowly, step by step, as experience shall warrant. 

Mesmer was familiar with the fact of mental transmission at a dis- 
tance. As we shall see, he even offers an ingenious theory to account 
for it, and it is very probable that what gave most offense to his con- 
temporaries — to wit : his breadth of view, his universal fluid, etc. — 
was attributable, above all, to his profound belief in action at a 
distance. But just as with regard to somnambulism in general, he 
thought he must be reticent about this portion of his studies, which 
he communicated only to a few favored friends under the seal of 
secrecy. Mesmer generally experimented a good deal more than he 
wrote, stated his results very briefly, and even the fundamental prin- 
ciples of his teaching, of which a small number of copies was printed, 
were distributed only among chosen disciples and nearly always 
under the pledge of secrecy. Consequently we possess very meager 
details as to what took place in the " chamber of crises," to which the 
profane were never admitted. 

Still, as regards action from a distance, a little distance indeed, but 
from another room, we are able to quote an interesting experiment, 
reported by a judicious observer, the Austrian savant Seifert, who at 
first treated Mesmer as a charlatan, but who afterward, mainly under 
the influence of the facts I am about to recount, accepted the mesmer- 
izer's theory. 

i. The occurrence took place in 1775, at Rochow, Hungary, in an 
old castle of the Baron Horetzky, of Horka. Mesmer was treating 
the Baron with magnetism, and at the same time had under his care 
several other patients who came from the vicinage to consult him. 
Seifert looked on all this as humbuggery. 

One day newspapers were brought, and in one of them was found 
an account of Mesmer's doings, according to which the magnetizer 
had produced convulsions in some epileptics that had been apparently 
cured by the exorcist Gassner, Mesmer being concealed in a neigh- 
boring room and there simply making his finger move in the direction 
of the patients. Seifert arrived at the castle, newspaper in hand, and 
finds Mesmer surrounded by gentlemen. He asked him if what the 
paper said was true, and Mesmer confirmed the story. Then Mesmer 
was asked to give experimental proof of action through a wall. At 
first he refused, but the company urged him so hard — not without a 
purpose — that finally he accepted the test. From among the most 
sensitive of his patients he selected a young Jew, suffering from dis- 
ease of the chest. He placed him in a room separated from the side 
drawing-room, in which the experiment was to be made, by a wall 
two and one-half feet thick. Under these conditions the experiment 
could not be altogether conclusive, as the subject looked for an 
experiment of some sort ; but it is interesting because of the peculiar 
circumstances that we will recount presently. 

Mesmer stood three paces away from the wall, while Seifert, as an 


observer, stationed himself at the partly open door, so that he might 
be able to observe both the magnetizer and the patient. This is what 
he witnessed : 

At first Mesmer made, with the index finger of the left hand, several 
horizontal motions in the supposed direction of the patient. The latter 
soon began to complain, felt of his sides, and seemed to be suffering. 
"What ails you?" asked Seifert. " I don't feel well," he answered. 
Not content with this reply, Seifert demanded a clearer description of 
what he felt. "I feel," said the Jew, "as if all my inwards were 
balancing right and left." 

In order to avoid asking questions, Seifert told the patient to let 
him know of any changes he might be sensible of, without waiting to 
be asked. A few minutes afterward Mesmer moved his finger in an 
oval. " Now everything is going round in me as in a circle," said 
the patient. Mesmer then ceased to act, and almost immediately the 
patient declared that he felt nothing more ; and so on. All these 
declarations agreed fully, not only with the moments of action and 
the intervals, but also with the sensations that Mesmer wished to 
to excite. 1 

2. The same author describes another experiment not less extraor- 
dinary. Mesmer, as we know, held that the physical transmission is 
aided by sound, and that sound-waves may be, so to speak, charged 
with the fluid and may transmit it to a distance. Now, it was custom- 
ary in the Baron Horetzky's castle for two musicians from time to 
time to blow a huntsman's horn in a kiosque in the garden. The 
patients, who were awaiting the coming of Mesmer, and who were 
separated by several walls from the garden, listened with pleasure to 
this music. One day Mesmer, wishing to make the experiment, 
visited the kiosque. Seifert went to the hall where the patients were 
to see Mesmer. He did not find him, but to his surprise observed 
that some of the patients, instead of enjoying the music as usual, 
were becoming uneasy, and even showed more serious nervous symp- 
toms. Seifert ran to look for Mesmer and found him in the kiosque, 
his right hand holding the flange of the hunting-horn the musician 
was blowing. He told what had happened ; Mesmer smiled as he 
heard. " I expected that," he said. Then he touched the instrument 
with his left hand, and lastly let it go entirely, saying: " Now, or pre- 
sently, the patients will grow quiet." They went back to the hall and 
found the patients coming to themselves by degrees. 3 

Can we admit the reality of such action ? Experiment is needed in 
order to decide the question. But is there not some analogy between 
this phenomenon and the phenomena of Bell's radiophone, by means 
of which a light-ray transmits the voice? Who would have ventured 
to believe in such a thing ten years ago? It is a fact, nevertheless. 
And here is another phenomenon that I have observed once only, 
and which consequently still needs verification : 

Mrs. M. was in the magnetic sleep. While awaiting the time of 
her awaking, I struck a few accords on the piano. Immediately the 

1 Dr. J. Kerner, "Franz Anton Mesmer aus Schwaben," p. 28. Frankfort-on- 
Main, 1856. 

2 Id., p. 44. 


somnambule, who just before was in the state of moderate (fteu pro- 
fonde) paralytic aideia, gave signs of attention and seemed to be 
pleased by the sounds. As she never heard anyone but myself, I 
wished to ascertain what might be the action of sounds produced by 
another person. So I motioned to Miss B., and she went to the piano 
and played the same accords. Mrs. M. gave no sign of sensation. 
I played again ; she heard. Miss B. played once more and fortissimo; 
no action. " You heard me playing ? " I asked the somnambule, try- 
ing to deceive her. " No," said she ; " I did not hear anything." 

That is a special case of rapport and probably a very rare one, for 
usually somnambules more or less distinctly hear music, and singing 
in particular. Can it be that there is such physical difference be- 
tween sounds produced by the magnetizer and the same sounds 
produced by another person ? Can it be that sonorous vibrations 
transmit the personal tonic movement upon which depends the som- 
nambule's perception ? That is a matter yet to be studied. 

3. Experiments in action at a distance would seem to have been 
very frequent in France about 1784, for in a pamphlet attributed to 
the Marquis de Dampierre, we find this : 

" The following experiment has been made repeatedly : A highly 
susceptible person was left with other persons who were in the secret 
and who tried to occupy her attention. In the meantime she was 
magnetized unbeknown to her from the adjoining room, and the effect 
was nearly as prompt and nearly as manifest as though the operator 
had been nigh. The only difference noted was that, not knowing 
that she was being magnetized without her co-operation, she at first 
held herself in check (se co?itrctignait), mistaking what she felt for a 
natural indisposition, and did not cease to resist till the action, bear- 
ing upon her with force, put it out of her power to conceal from her- 
self that she was magnetized. One experiment would not have been 
decisive, so several were made. Results were obtained more or less 
marked according to the degree of sensibility possessed by the person 
magnetized." 1 

4. But we find earlier traces still. Action at a distance was suc- 
cessfully tried in the case of the possessed nuns of Loudun : 

" Many times the exorcists [/. e., the magnetizers unknown to 
themselves] called secretly this same nun [Elizabeth Bastard], some- 
times mentally and by their thought only, again in a low voice, but 
without being heard by the persons present. This woman felt herself 
drawn to the places whence they called her, and suspecting the pur- 
pose, lay down upon the floor to withstand her inclination, and never- 
theless on these occasions she usually obeyed." 2 

5. Van Helmont, the great physician and great dreamer of the 
16th century, must have studied this question, so explicit is he with 

1 " Reflexions Impartiales sur le Magnetisme Animal." Geneva-Paris, 1784. 

2 " Relation de ce qui s'est passe aux Exorcismes en Presence de Monsieur, Frere 
du Roi," p. 39. 


regard to it. He believed that everyone is capable of influencing his 
fellowmen from a distance, but that generally this force lies dormant 
in us and oversloughed by "the flesh." If it is to be exercised there 
must be a certain harmony between the operator and the subject. 
The latter must be sensitive, and his sensibility must be trained so 
that, under the influence of the " inner imagination," it may meet the 
action of the magnetizer half-way. This magic action is felt particu- 
larly at the pit of the stomach, for " the sense at the pit of the 
stomach is more delicate than in the fingers or even in the eyes'. 
Sometimes the subject cannot even bear the laying of one's hand upon 
that region." ' The observation that the magnetic action makes itself 
felt first at the pit of the stomach is an interesting one, and should 
be considered in the light of Petetin's discoveries and of a recent 
observation of Dr. Hericourt, who writes : " Mrs. D. declared that 
whenever I was thinking of her she felt a sharp pain in the prsecordial 
region ; in fact, the same pain she felt when the somnambulic seances 
were protracted, and which decided me to bring them to an end." 
" Hitherto," says van Helmont, 2 " I have hesitated to unveil a great 
mystery, namely, that there is in man an energy in virtue of which he 
can, by his mere will and by his imagination, act outside of himself, 
and impress a lasting influence upon a very remote object. This one 
mystery illumines with a sufficient light sundry facts hard to under- 
stand, bearing upon the magnetism of all bodies, upon man's mental 
power, and upon all that has been said regarding man's magic and his 
mastery of the universe." 3 

This, remember, was written two hundred years ago ! 

6. The comparison of the sensitive subject with the compass-needle 
is ever recurring in these old authors. It is justified by the undoubted 
analogy that subsists between the physical action of a hand and that of 
the magnet in general ; 4 but especially is it justified by the attractive 
action of the magnetizer on the magnetized. This is a very complex 

1 "Persabe os stomachi non fert maniim oppositam ; ibidem esse sensum acutissimum 
ac prtzcisum, qui alioqui magis in digitis extremis requiri videbatur." J. B. von Hel- 
mont, " Opera Omnia," p. 278. Frankfort, 1682. Our author s translation of van Hel- 
mont's wordsns slightly inaccurate. No comparison is made between the "sense at 
the pit of the stomach " and touch and sight ; it is only said that a very acute sense is 
manifested at os stomachi, such sense as under other conditions (alioqui) we look for in 
the finger-tips and the eyes ; the pit of the stomach becomes a tact-organ and a visual 
organ. — Translator. 

2 Id., p. 731. 

8 lb. See also " De l'Opinion de van Helmont sur la Cause et les Effets du Mag- 
netisme," by Deleuze, in " Bibl. Magn. Animal," vol. i., p. 45, vol. ii., p. 19S ; and 
Dr. Ennemoser, " Der Magnetismus nach der allseitigen Beziehung," p. 616. Leipsic, 

4 This subject I have treated in an article in Polish, " The Magnet and the Hand," 
which appeared in the scientific magazine Niwa, published in 1S81 at Warsaw, and 
of which I was editor. 


question, for it assumes many different forms: i. Attraction by 
ideoplasty, fascination, imitation of movements. 2. Reflex physical 
attraction by the approximation of the hand. 3. Direct physical and 
mental attraction, i. e., attraction without intermediation of ordinary 
perception, from a distance. The magnetized subject is always drawn 
toward the operator, seeks him, tends to come nearer to him ; hence, 
the mental suggestion experiment that succeeds most readily is one 
that makes the subject come to the operator. The subject will always 
incline toward the magnetizer, and Mr. Janet has observed that, after 
having endormed Mrs. B. from a distance, he found her head leaning 
in the direction of his action. But the most striking fact of this kind 
is recorded by Bruno : 

"The phenomenon that surprised me most," he says, "because it 
was the first that came under my notice, is the one I am about to 
relate. A young woman 18 or 19 years of age had been, for five 
or six months, dying of consumption. After three or four days of 
treatment she slept. Her sleep became very deep in a few days. 
When I magnetized her, her head leaned toward me ; I was obliged 
to push her back gently in her chair, to prevent her falling on me. 
As that is a usual effect of sleep I paid no attention to it ; after mag- 
netizing her I left her sleeping quietly and went to another patient. 
But now new trouble : the girl leaned to one side, sometimes fell on 
her next neighbor, and some one had to be continually holding her 
up. I had a large armchair provided for her in which she might 
sleep comfortably. Vain precaution ! Her head leaned quite slowly, 
but by jerks, and all that portion of her body which was not held 
back by the armchair followed this movement. At last a thought 
struck me: that her head always leaned toward the side on which I 
was. I changed my position gradually, and what was my astonish- 
ment to find that her head, like a veritable compass-needle, followed 
the curve I slowly made around her at the distance of five or six feet. 
It stopped when I stopped, always leaning toward me. ... In 
vain I went to a greater distance, the effect was the same. I left the 
room, went down into the courtyard, placed myself in different direc- 
tions. I went and placed myself at a very great distance in the angle 
of a second courtyard of my house, which faces on two intersecting 
streets; my 'compass' always showed, with the utmost exactitude, 
the point of the horizon at which I stood. She had to be supported 
or she would have fallen out of the chair. 

" This experiment was very successful when I made it in presence 
of a physician, to whom'I left the choice of the places. After having 
had me placed at different points outside of the chamber, while he 
remained in it himself, in order to observe the directions in which the 
young woman would turn, he proposed to me to go into the street. 
He himself led me to a corner of the court-yard very far from the 
house. I had ordered that no one should touch the girl, so that her 
direction might be seen on our return. As soon as I was in place, the 
physician went back promptly, and hurried upstairs witn all speed. 
He found the girl had fallen on the floor. I had seated heron a very 
low chair, telling the attendants to see that her fall should be very 
gentle, and to assist her in falling by helping her with their arms to 


the floor. The direction of her body was not exactly toward my 
place, the back of the chair having hindered that, but she had fallen 
to that side. Her sleep was not disturbed by the occurrence. The 
next day the same physician had some doubts as to the direction of 
the fall, which did not seem to him to be exactly toward where I had 
stood, and he was not willing to accept the explanation I had given. 
So he asked me to repeat the experiment. When I had gone down 
into the street he desired that I should go around the neighboring 
house, situated to the west of mine. He went upstairs immediately 
to observe what might take place. It was agreed between us that 
the attendants should prevent the girl's falling. He returned in time 
to witness the prodigy, and it produced conviction in him. I walked 
very slowly, always thinking of the girl, and that without knowing the 
full importance of that operation. The head of the patient indicated 
to him perfectly the direction in which I went ; he also perceived the 
action I exerted {Faction que je fis) from the position of her body, 
which was in danger of falling soon. A young woman who was in 
the custom of assisting her when in this state kept her from falling 
But soon that was no longer necessary. The girl straightened herself 
up, and the new direction of her head, which described a curve from 
east to west, announced my return." 1 

This observation possesses interest for us, for it shows how a 
physical phenomenon of bodily attraction produced by the mere 
presence of the magnetizer may be accentuated by the concurrence 
of mental action. But it is of very rare occurrence, and generally the 
attraction is purely reflex (sensation of warmth and of air-currents) ; 
or, if it be direct, it is exerted only at a very small distance. It is 
also to be remarked that Bruno's somnambule tolerated the attouch- 
ment of a third person, that is to say, there was no hyperesthesia, 
properly called. This point is one that we shall not fail to consider 
from the view-point 'of theory. Strong attraction is always accom- 
panied by rigidity of the members. It ceases sometimes at the 
moment of a general contracture, but there is always a tendency to 
contracture wherever attraction manifests itself. After Bruno, and 
often without knowing of his researches, several magnetizers have 
noted the same phenomenon. It is to be regarded as an aid to mental 
suggestion when one calls to him the subject. 

7. " We sometimes," says Dupotet, 3 " find subjects of such mobil- 
ity, that you may act upon them through partitions or walls at a 
moment when it is not possible that they should be cognizant of 
your intention. They sense your coming, perceive your going ; they 

1 De Lausanne, " Des Principes, etc., du Magn. Anim." (2 vols. Vol. i. is by 
Bruno), pp. 123-128. Paris, 1819. As the house around which the walk was made 
lay west from Bruno's house, the return walk was, of course, from west to east, and 
the girl's head must have moved in the same direction. The whole narrative leaves 
much to be desired in respect of clearness and precision. The exceeding awkwardness 
of the style is reflected in the English version. — Translator. 

2 " De l'Art d'Appliquer le Magnetisme Animal a la Therapeutique " {Lc Propaga- 
teur, p. 277. 1827). 


fall asleep to awake, and then to sleep again, all at your will." 
Here are the experiments Dupotet had in mind when he wrote that 
passage : » 

" Experiments at the Hotel Dieu (Nov. i, 1820). — We were all assem- 
bled in the hall used for our seances, the patient alone excepted. Mr. 
Husson, physician of this hospital, said to me: 'Will you endorm the 
patient, and that very speedily, without touching her? I wish you 
would try to obtain sleep without her seeing you or being apprised 
of your coming hither.' I answered that I would try, but that I 
could not guarantee the success of this experiment, because action at 
a distance, through intervening bodies, depends on the special sus- 
ceptibility of the individual. We agreed upon a signal that I should 
be able to hear. Mr. Husson, who, at the moment, held in Lis hand 
a pair of scissors, chose the throwing of them upon the table as the 
signal. It was proposed that I should enter a closet separated by a 
thick partition from the apartment we were in, and the door of which 
was secured by a strong lock. I did not hesitate to shut myself up 
in that closet, being unwilling to elude any difficulty, to leave any 
doubt in the minds of honest men, or to afford any occasion for ma- 
levolent criticism. The patient was brought in and was placed with 
her back turned toward the place where I was concealed and some 
three or four feet distant. The persons present wondered, with the 
patient, that I had not yet come, and from my delay concluded that 
perhaps I was not coming ; it was wrong for me to keep people wait- 
ing — in short, the make-believe that I had failed to come was acted 
very plausibly. At the appointed signal, though I knew not where 
nor at what distance Miss Samson was placed, I began magnetizing, 
keeping the strictest silence and avoiding the slightest movement 
that might give her notice of my presence. It was then 35 minutes 
past 9 o'clock. Three minutes later she was asleep, and from the 
moment that I began to direct my will-action the patient was seen to 
rub her eyes and to show signs of drowsiness, and at last fell into her 
ordinary somnambulism. I repeated this experiment November 7, in 
presence of Professor Recarmier. He took all possible precautions, 
and the result was, in all respects, the same as in our first attempt. 
The particulars of this second experiment are as follows : Upon my 
arrival, at 9.15, at the place of our seances, Mr. Husson came to tell 
me that Mr. Recarmier wished to be present to see me endorm the 
patient through the partition. I promptly consented to the imme- 
diate admission of so respectable a witness. Mr. Recarmier entered 
and talked with me, in particular about his belief as to magnetic phe- 
nomena. We agreed upon a signal ; I went into the closet and was 
locked in. Then Miss Samson was brought, and Mr. Recarmier placed 
her more than six feet from the closet — I not knowing where she sat 
— with her back turned toward it. He conversed with her and found 
her better. They told her I was not coming, and she wanted absolutely 
to withdraw. The moment that Mr. Recarmier asked her whether she 
digested meat (these words were the signal agreed upon by Mr. Recar- 
mier and me), I began magnetizing her. It was then 9.32; three min- 
utes later Mr. Recarmier touched her, raised her eyelids, shook her 
by the hands, questioned her, and so we obtained proof that she was 
fully endormed. But these two facts did not suffice to demonstrate 
so strange a phenomenon." 


In fact, this second experiment was very ill-contrived. The same 
hour was selected— 9.35, 9.32 — the same place, the same subterfuge 
to hoodwink the patient. All this was anything but ingenious, and 
this second experience, qua second (p. 35, supra) was positively 
of no value whatever. Bertrand had good right to retain his doubts. 
As for Recarmier, when Mr. Dupotet asked him, "Well, are you con- 
vinced now ? " " Convinced ? No," he replied, " but staggered." 

" So we resolved to multiply the experiments, varying them, chang- 
ing the hour and the wonted circumstances. What we did was this : 
I went one evening, accompanied by Mr. Husson and other physicians, 
to the ward where the patient was. [A new imprudence !] They 
placed me at the distance of several beds away from the patient, 
observing the strictest silence, so that my coming might not be noticed. 
At 7.08 o'clock I magnetized the patient; at 7.12 we all approached 
her, and were convinced that the sleep and the insensibility that 
habitually characterized her existed in the highest degree. I need 
not say that the day for the experiment was chosen by the physician - 
in-chief, not by me ; that the observers had made sure in advance 
that the patient was not sleeping [it was upon this point that Ber- 
trand's objections mainly bore : he declared that Mr. Husson, by his 
simple presence, might suggest the thought of an experiment] ; and, 
finally, that my action was directed from a distance of about 20 feet. 
To put an end to all uncertainty as to the result of this wonderful 
(prodigieuse) action, this is what we did, or rather what I was ordered 
10 do : Mr. Bertrand, doctor of medicine of the Paris Faculty, had 
witnessed the seances. He said that to him it did not appear strange 
that the magnetized patient should fall asleep, the magnetizer being 
placed in the closet ; he believed that the concurrence of the same 
environing circumstances would, without my presence, bring about a 
like result ; that, in fact, the patient might be naturally predisposed. 
He therefore proposed the experiment I am about to describe : 

" The patient was to be made to come to the same place, to sit in the 
same chair at the same spot, and the same sort of conversation was to 
be carried on with her and around her ; it seemed certain to him that 
sleep must follow. Consequently, I agreed not to come till a quarter 
of an hour after the usual time. At 9.45 began, in presence of 
Miss Samson, the pre-arranged proceedings. She was seated in the 
same armchair she usually occupied, and in the same position. She 
was asked various questions, then she was left in quiet. A pretense 
was made of giving signals, as on former occasions, by dropping the 
scissors and the like; in short, the customary practices were repeated 
exactly. But in vain did the observers look for the magnetic state to 
make its appearance in the patient. She complained of her side, was 
restless, rubbed her side, changed her place, and gave no sign of a 
need for sleep, whether natural or magnetic. The delay of a quarter 
of an hour being at an end, I repaired to the Hotel Dieu, entering at 
10.05. The patient said she had no inclination to sleep, nodded, and 
in one minute and a half was asleep, but did not respond till half-an- 
hour later." ' 

Such is the story told by the party most interested in the affair. 
' Dupotet, " Traite Complet du Magn. Anim.," 4th ed., p. 182. Paris, 1879. 


Let us now see what is said of it by the unbelieving intransigentes 7 
Messrs. Burdin and Dubois : ' 

" In the first place, Mr. Husson visited the ward unexpectedly at 7 
o'clock in the evening, an occurrence quite unwonted and out of keep- 
ing with the habits of so precise, so punctual a chief of service. Mr. 
Husson did not hide, but went straight to Miss Samson's bed, and to 
put her on the wrong scent [as though it were an easy thing to do 
with a somnambule], he addressed her next neighbor, saying to her : 
' It is on your account I come this evening ; I was anxious about you 
this morning, but I find you are better ; be not alarmed and all will 
be well' It was the somnambule that should have said, ' All will be 
well,' for now she is fore-advised. Nor is that all. Very adroitly 
the magnetizer is placed at the distance of one bed from his subject ; 
a lamp, says Bertrand, lighted the ward, and stood behind the said 
magnetizer, so that he might make a Chinese shadow-picture of him- 
self ; and Mr. Husson, also at a short distance from the subject, had 
his eyes fixed on her. ■ Now, was not that a neatly contrived experi- 
ment? . . . So then, what happened ? Why this, that Mademoi- 
selle, once the preliminaries were settled, exclaimed aloud for the 
edification of the experimenters : ' It is astonishing what trouble I 
have with my eyes ; I can't keep awake.' And lo ! she is asleep ! " 

But Messrs. Burdin and Dubois were not present at the experiment. 
Let us see, then, what is said of it by Bertrand, to whom the academic 
authors refer : 

" Mr. Husson [says Dr. Bertrand] was so good as to consider my 
objections and to agree to an experiment which would serve as a 
counter-proof by showing to what extent the accessory circumstances 
I have just pointed out might act in the absence of the experimenter. 
It was proposed to have the patient come at the usual hour to the 
same room ; she was to sit in the same chair ; a show of giving a sig- 
nal was to be made ; in short, in the absence of the magnetizer, we 
were to act precisely as we had been in the habit of acting when he 
was present. All this was done as I requested, and contrary to my 
anticipations the patient was not endormed. As this experiment had not 
the result I had expected, I proposed a second one that seemed more 
conclusive still. This consisted in directing the magnetic action 
upon the patient not only unbeknown to her, but 'also at an hour when 
she would not be likely to suspect that any one was trying to magne- 
tize her ; this might be done by entering her chamber at night when 
all were in bed, and, after making sure that she was not asleep, then 
magnetizing her from a distance unbeknown to her. . . . Not till 
we had ail retired to a corner of the ward at a certain distance was 
the place of the experiment chosen. Several circumstances conspired 
to render this experiment more than doubtful to me. A lamp that 
lighted the ward stood back of the magnetizer and at a small distance 
from him, so that his body, even though he did not stand erect, might 
easily perhaps have been seen by the patient. Another cause of 
uncertainty resulted from the very exactitude with which it was 
attempted to perform the experiment, for Mr. Husson, wishing to 
make sure that the patient was not asleep, was obliged to let himself 
be seen by her ; and do what he might to lead her to believe that she 

1 " Histoire Academique," p. 260. 


herself was not the object of his night-call, she must at least have 
had some doubts, enough to awaken her attention — all the more be- 
cause for a fortnight she had been day after day the subject of a 
multitude of -experiments, very many of which, as we have seen, were 
tried for the purpose of exerting some action or other upon her 

Bertrand concludes his analysis by declaring that he did not con- 
test the facts, but that when he signed the report he was far from 
confirming, thereby, the reality of the magnetic agent and from offer- 
ing these experiments as conclusive. 1 

I am positively of the same opinion. They are not conclusive, but 
neither are they altogether valueless, as Messrs. Burdin and Dubois 
would have us believe. They were the first public experiments of the 
kind, and to Dupotet belongs the credit of having ventured to make 
the first step. 

" Shortly afterward [says Bertrand] similar experiments were made 
at the Salpetriere by men versed in the study of medicine and by dis- 
tinguished students who have become physicians of repute. The 
result was to convert to a belief in the phenomena of somnambulism 
the author of the " Physiologie du Systeme Nerveux," Dr. Georget, 
who in 1 82 1 recorded in that very work the result of his researches. 
These experiments commanded also the belief of Dr. Rostan, author 
of several excellent works, and of a great number of articles in the 
new " Dictionnaire de Medicine," a compilation in which he has just 
published an article on " Animal Magnetism," wherein he sets forth 
the observations that wrought conviction in him. Mr. Georget, as 
well as Mr. Rostan, declares the existence of a special agent, and in 
particular believes in the influence of the will of the magnetizer, to 
which he assigns a role as important as that assigned to it by Messrs. 
Deleuze and Puysegur. But that is not much to be wondered at, so 
easy is it to be illuded, when one observes creatures for whom the 
most baseless belief becomes the source of real phenomena. I have 
passed through the illusion under which the distinguished men I have 
named still remain. May I be permitted to hope that they one day 
will adopt the point of view at which I stand ? For the rest, the 
important thing is, the testimony they have given as to the reality of 
the phenomena ; it came at an opportune season to strengthen the 
testimony already given by men whom no one can reasonably suspect 
of an intention to deceive, and it will no doubt help to win the belief 
of the scientific world. 

" Other experiments were made at the Pitie, at the Charite, under 
the direction of Mr. Fouquier, at the Hospital of St. Louis, and every- 
where results more or less noteworthy were obtained ; but officialdom, 
which ought not to have remained a stranger to researches conducted 
under the direction of enlightened physicians and that could not have 
any untoward effect on the patients, opposed them blindly, and hin- 
dered them in every way." 2 

Bertrand was mistaken as to the definitive outcome of the experi- 
ments made at a distance. Five years after the publication of his 

' Bertrand, " Du Magnetisme," pp.* 259-265. Paris, 1826. ^ Id., p. 266. 


book, new proofs were brought forward by the academic commis- 
sion that was appointed about the time when the work appeared. 
Dr. Foissac repeated Dupotet's experiments with entire success and 
■under the best conditions. 1 Morin, another unbeliever, in reporting 
these facts, is able to raise but one objection, viz. : that there might 
have been collusion between Dr. Foissac and the patient. It is 
difficult to accept the supposition of Mr. Morin, or rather of Messrs. 
Burdin and Dubois. And, in fact, those gentlemen did not make it 
seriously ; but they are in the right when they say that in handling this 
sort of question all delicacy must be laid aside, and that Mr. Foissac 
ought not to have known beforehand the precise time. 

9. " Sleep at a distance [says Lafontaine] is not produced save 
upon persons that have been magnetized repeatedly. At Renner, 
Mr. Dufihol, rector of the academy, and Mr. Rabusseau, inspector, 
came one day with several physicians to the hotel where I lodged. 
After we had conversed for a good while, Mr. Dufihol asked me to 
accompany him home, saying that a lady wished to talk with me. I 
took my hat and went with Mr. Dufihol. After crossing the court 
yard we entered one of the parlors of the hotel, and Mr. Dufihol began 
a conversation, the purpose of which I did not see. After a quarter 
of an hour he said to me : 'You have maintained that you are able to 
endorm your subject at a distance without his being fore-advised ; will 
you now try that experiment?' I agreed. 'How much time will it 
take ?' ' Four or five minutes.' ' Begin.' Three minutes after I told 
Mr. Dufihol that the subject must be asleep. He requested me to 
remain in the parlor, crossed the court-yard himself, went upstairs, 
and as he neared the door, he heard the other gentlemen say to 
the subject: 'Well, you are sleeping? Awake! He is asleep!' 
Mr. Dufihol entered hastily and found the subject endormed ; then he 
called me, and said : ' In the face of facts like these, gentlemen, we 
must believe ; it was I that asked Mr. Lafontaine to endorm the sub- 
ject from the large parlor of the hotel." 

• That experiment was well contrived. Here are two more, arranged 
ex improviso likewise : 

" The seance ended, many persons surrounded Mr. Lafontaine and 
discussed with the liveliest interest the different effects of magnetism. 
Just then took place the most conclusive experiment of the evening. 
The subject had withdrawn, and was talking with some gardes de ville 
at one of the braziers in which fire had been made to warm the hall. 
'Could you endorm him f-rom here ?' some one asked Mr. Lafontaine. 
' Undoubtedly,' was his reply ; ' stand around me, so that he may not 
see me.' After a few moments the subject was sound asleep. . . . 

" At Cinq-Mars-la-Pile, two hours before giving a public seance, I 
happened to be at the house of Dr. Renaud. A dozen persons were 
present ; the talk was about magnetism, and it was proposed that I 
should, from the doctor's house, endorm my subject at the hall of the 
Mairie, where I was to give the seance. I agreed. The conditions 
were that I should not leave the house ; that two of the gentlemen in 
the company should remain with me and should tell me the moment 

1 " L'Art de Magnetiser," 5th ed., corrected, p. 92. 


when I was to commence; that two others were to go and find the 
somnambule, who was at the hotel, and conduct her to the Mairie, 
telling her nothing about what was to be done. From the doctor's 
residence to the Mairie was about half a kilometer. The hour having 
come, and the two persons that had remained with me — one of whom 
was Mr. de la Berandiere — having told me that I might begin, 1 
thought, four minutes later, I could assure them that the subject was 
asleep. We then set out for the Mairie, and when we arrived there 
the subject was sleeping. Not till five minutes [after the operation 
began] had the sleep been perfect. In the second minute the first 
effects had been noticed, such as winking and drowsiness." 

We may add that Lafontaine did not believe in direct will-action or 
will-transmission, but only in the emission of a fluid, under the control 
of the will. 

10. Dr. Dusart completes as follows his observation on Miss J. : 
" Each day [he says] before leaving I gave the order to sleep till a 
fixed hour of the next day. One day I came away, forgetting that 
precaution, and had gone 700 meters away when I adverted to it. I 
therefore formulated the order to sleep till eight o'clock the next day, 
and went my way. On the morrow I arrived at half-past seven o'clock. 
The patient was asleep. ' How comes it,' I asked, ' that you are still 
sleeping ? ' ' Sir, I am obeying you.' ' You are mistaken ; I left with- 
out giving you any order.' True, but five minutes afterward I dis- 
tinctly heard you tell me to sleep till eight. Now, it is not yet eight.' 

" The latter hour was the one I usually set for her to awake. Pos- 
sibly habit produced an illusion, and there may have been simply a 
coincidence. In order to satisfy my mind as to that and to leave no 
room for doubt, I commanded the patient to sleep till she should 
receive the order to awake. 

" In the course of the day, having found a moment of free time, I 
resolved to complete the experiment. I left my home (seven kilo- 
meters distant), giving at the same time the order to awake. I reached 
the house of the patient and found her awake. Her relatives had, at 
my request, noted the precise moment of her awaking ; it was exactly 
the moment at which I had given the order. This experiment, re- 
peated many times, at different hours, always had the same result." 

It is really an interesting one. First, because it seems to prove that, 
not only is forehead-contact not necessary, but that the action can be 
exercised at the distance of seven kilometers; and then because it proves 
that, under these conditions, the influence may have a bearing not only 
on the fact of sleeping, but on that of awaking also, probably with 
specialization of a particular thought — that of a stated hour. 

But here is something that will seem more extraordinary still : 

" January 1, I suspended my visits and ceased to have any relations 
with the family. 1 had heard nothing more about them when, on the 
12th day of the month, while I was going my round in the opposite 
direction and ten kilometers distant from the patient, I asked myself 
whether, in spite of the distance, the suspension of all relations, and 
the intervention of a third person (for the patient's father magnetized 


her then) it would be still possible for me to make her obey me. I 
foi'bade the patient to allow herself to be endormed ; then, half an hour 
afterward, reflecting that if, by an extraordinary chance I should be 
obeyed, that might prove injurious to the afflicted girl, I lifted the 
prohibition and thought no more about it. I was much surprised 
when, the next day, at six o'clock in the morning, a messenger came 
•express to my house bearing a letter from Miss J.'s father. He wrote 
that the day before, at 10 o'clock a. m., he had succeeded in endorming 
his daughter only after a prolonged and very painful struggle. The 
patient, once endormed, had declared that if she had made resistance 
it had been by my order, and that she had not fallen asleep till I per- 
mitted. These declarations were made in the presence of witnesses, 
whom the girl's father got to sign the notes of them made at the 
moment. This letter I have preserved ; its contents were confirmed 
to me later by Mr. , who added some circumstantial details." 

Thus it becomes probable that with an exact knowledge of the con- 
ditions of the phenomenon we may be able to communicate our 
thoughts at a distance, as we now converse by telephone. 

Dr. Glay adds to this observation a remark having a bearing on 
experiment. " It seems," he says, " that Dr. Dusart succeeded in en- 
dorming his patient at a distance only after subjecting her to an 
education process. Thus, he says that at first he endormed her very 
many times by mental order, but that the order was given from very 
near. Evidently we have no very clear understanding as to what may be 
the influence of such education ; it may be, nevertheless, that here is a 
condition favorable to the development of these phenomena, should 
they be proved real." 

We can, I believe, get a pretty fair notion of the influence of this 
education : 

a. In the first place, such influence need not cause us any surprise, 
for it is observed in all hypnotic and magnetic phenomena, without 
exception : the subject's sensibility grows in proportion to the experi- 
mentation. The hypnoscope enables us to determine this fact ; and, 
as I observed in a note : communicated to the Societe de Biologie in 
1884, there exists with respect to this point a very sharp contrast be- 
tween imaginary and real sensibility. Persons who think themselves 
highly sensitive, very " nervous," who have faith in magnetism, but 
who do not possess this special sensibility, which does not depend at 
all on the will or on faith, experience various sensations, more or less 
strong, at the moment of a first hypnoscopic test. These sensations 
are produced by fear, by expectant attention — in a word, by the imag- 
ination. Make the test a second time, and you will see these sensations 
rapidly grow less and disappear, whereas the effects due to real sensi- 
bility persist and grow more pronounced with each application. 

If, after a first hypnoscopic test, you hypnotize or magnetize the 
subject, say for a month, and then apply the test again, you will 

1 See Appendix I. 


always find evidence of greater sensibility. Why? Because the 
action, consisting of a reflex influence between the brain and the 
ganglia, must needs present the phenomena proper to reflex action in 
general, which is a thing that is learned, that strikes root, and that 
becomes more and more easy. Any nerve-route whatever, traversed 
once by any excitation, no matter what, will present less resistance at 
the second passage of the same excitation. Herein consists the differ- 
ence between a wire and a nerve-fiber, particularly when the fiber is 
connected with living cells. This is what Ribot has called organic 
memory, 1 and this memory must be no less favorable to slight excita- 
tions than to the ordinary mechanic actions. 

b. We must not forget that though hypnotic sensibdity is inde- 
pendent of the subject's conscious will, it is not so with his uncon- 
scious. The unconscious may be regarded almost as a privy govern- 
ment, often, if not always, more powerful than that which under the 
style of Ego I. reigns in the light of publicity, but — governs not. With 
this Ego I., more pompous than puissant, you may treat of matters 
of a superficial sort, but with Ego II. you can conclude treaties with 
regard to all vital functions. 

To it you may, for example, say : " While Ego I. is sleeping you 
will watch, reckoning the hours and minutes, and you will wake him 
at such an hour ; you are to have an eye upon your first minister, who 
is called ' Exchange of Matter,' so that he shall not hurry his work ; 
you will carry on and equalize the life-movement in all the provinces 
of your realm, guard the frontier against invasion, expel foci of 
disease that break your rest," etc., and he will obey you ; he has the 
power to obey you. Consequently the will of Ego II. can go out to 
meet us, can aid us, can facilitate more and more our task. 

c. There must be a strong analogy between a spoken voice and a 
mental voice. 2 Now, we sometimes have difficulty in understanding 
what is said by one who is a stranger to us ; he speaks too rapidly, or 
in too low a voice, or with faulty pronunciation ; but little by little we 
grow used to this ; associations are formed, and, as a mother under- 
stands the babble of her child, we learn to associate the more or less 
jumbled sounds with definite ideas. Probably the vibrations that 
transmit thought and will are no less confused, no less imperfect ; 
consequently we must have them repeated to us over and over, in 
order that we may perceive their differences ; and it is easy to see 
how habit, training and exercise help us to perceive them. 

d. Finally, as we have already observed, the action upon the subject 
of a center of radiation from without, 3 and an adjustment in conform- 
ity with the dynamic nature of that center, are effected little by 

1 Ribot, " Diseases of Memory." (Humboldt Library No. 46.) 

2 Une voix par lee, tine voix mentale. 

3 L' envahissement dti sujet par tin foyer rayonnant exte'rieur. 


little, and constitute what is called "rapport." And this rapport is 
a necessary condition of all mental transmission. 

ii. "One day [says Mr. Richet], being at breakfast with my col- 
leagues, among them our confrere Mr. Ladouzy, then, like myself, an 
interne of the Beaujon Hospital, I affirmed that I could endorm a 
patient at a distance, and that I would simply, by an act of my will, 
make her come to where we were. Bur after waiting ten minutes, no 
one having come, the experiment was considered to be a failure. In 
fact, it was not a failure, for after a while word was brought to me 
that the patient was walking up and down the corridors endormed, 
trying to have a talk with me, and not finding me. So in fact it was, 
and I could get from her no explanation of her sleep and of her wan- 
dering about but this, that she wanted to talk with me." 

Here we see a lack of magnetic training. Had this patient been 
accustomed to the experiments, like the somnambules of Dupotet and 
Foissac, or even like Mr. Gibert's subject, Mrs. B., she would doubtless 
have known the reason of her promenade. Another point is worthy 
of mention : the somnambule did not find Mr. Richet, and that for 
sundry reasons. First, because Mr. Richet had ceased to influence 
her; then, because where physical attraction does not combine with 
the mental action (as in Bruno's experiment), the subject cannot find 
his way ; he knows he must go somewhere, but whither he knows not ; 
finally, it is probable that this dominant thought of going to see 
Mr. Richet developed in her a somnambulic monomania, which, like all 
monomanias, hinders clear vision. Often it happens that one will be 
searching for a knife, for instance, that lies before his eyes on the 
table ; the more persistently he searches the blinder does he become 
to the object. At last he gives up looking for it, and then finds it. 
We may recall an occurrence of this sort in our third experiment at 
Havre, where Mrs. B. was looking for Mr. Gibert, but could not find 
him. Nevertheless, she had come from the distance of a kilometer in 
obedience to the mental order. This explains for us the unsuccess of 
many magnetizers, who, after having mentally attracted their subject, 
cannot make him come to them after they change their place. The 
subject grows impatient, stubborn, and has no sense for anything 

"Another time [writes-the same author] I repeated this experiment, 
varying it in the following way : I asked two of my colleagues to visit 
the ward under pretense of examining some patient or other, but 
really in order to observe how No. n would act, it being my intention 
to endorm her at that moment. A little afterward they came and told 
me that the experiment had failed. But this time also it was success- 
ful, for they had mistaken for No. u the patient in the next bed to 
hers, who, of course, had remained awake, while No. n had been put 
in a sound sleep. 

" I ought [he adds] to have repeated this interesting experiment, to 
have varied it, and to have made the conditions more precise ; but in 


matters of this sort one cannot do all that he fain would do, and only 
those who have experimented know what difficulties of all kinds, moral 
and otherwise, beset the path of methodical experimentation. After a 
few weeks the patient went back to her own district, to Bezicrs, 1 
believe, and I have not heard of her since. Since that time (1873) I 
have not been able in one single case to produce this phenomenon of 
somnambulism at a distance. If, then, the phenomenon exists — and 
it were not easy, I think, absolutely to deny it — it is extremely rare, 
and occurs only under special circumstances that hitherto have escaped 
scientific verification." 

We shall endeavor to define these special circumstances with the 
aid of recent research. But first let us continue our record of experi- 

12. Mr. Hericourt completes his note, already cited, as follows: 

" Soon my thoughts were no longer about exerting my action from 
one end of a room to another ; the same results were obtained in act- 
ing from one part of a house to another, and from one house to another 
house in a more or less distant street. The circumstances amid which 
I thus exerted, for the first time, this long-distance action, are worth 
stating in some detail. Being one day in my study (I lived then in 
Perpignan), the thought occurred to me to endorm Mrs. D., who, I 
had every reason to believe, was at home, and who lived in a street 
some 300 meters distant from mine. By the way, I was far from 
believing that the experiment would succeed. It was 3 o'clock, p. m., 
and I kept walking to and fro, thinking very intently of the result I 
wished to produce ; and I was fully occupied with this exercise when 
I was called to see some patients. As the cases were urgent, 1, for 
the moment, forgot Mrs. D., whom I was to meet toward half-past 
four on a public promenade. Having repaired thither at that hour, I 
was much surprised not to see her there, but thought that, after all, 
my experiment might have been successful ; so about 5 o'clock, lest 
anything should be amiss, and to restore things to their normal state, 
in case that state had been, in fact, disturbed, I bethought me, to ease 
my conscience, to awaken my subject with the same strong effort 
with which I had shortly before sought to endorm her. I happened to 
see Mrs. D. that evening, and this is what she told me, purely of her 
own accord, and without any allusion whatever, on my part, to her 
absence from the promenade. Toward 3 o'clock, being in her bed- 
chamber, she was suddenly possessed by an irresistible desire to sleep ; 
her eyelids- were leaden, her legs refused to support her — she never 
had been in the habit of sleeping in the daytime — so that she was 
hardly able to go to her drawing-room and there throw herself upon 
a sofa. Her maid having come in to speak to her, found her mistress, 
as she afterward told her, pale, motionless, her skin cold, corpse-like, 
to use her own expression. Justly alarmed, the servant began to 
shake her vigorously, but with no success beyond making her open 
her eyes. At that moment Mrs. D. was conscious, as she told me, 
only of a violent headache, but that, it seems, disappeared suddenly 
toward 5 o'clock. That was just the moment when I thought of 
awakening her. 

" This narrative, I repeat, having been spontaneous, no further 
doubt remained ; my experiment had surely been successful. In 


order to repeat it under conditions as stringent as might be, I did not 
acquaint Mrs. D. with what I had done, and I set on foot a whole 
series of experiments, bringing as witnesses a number of persons who 
consented to fix the conditions and to verify the results. Among 
these witnesses I may mention the surgeon-major and a captain in 
the battalion of chasseurs in which I was aide-major. All these ex- 
periments are ultimately reducible to the following type : Being in a 
drawing-room with Mrs. D., I told her I would try to endorm her 
from a neighboring apartment, the doors being closed. I then pro- 
ceeded to that apartment and there remained a few minutes, my 
thought being distinctly to let her remain in the waking state. When 
I went back to the drawing-room I, in fact, found Mrs. D. in her nor- 
mal state, and making merry over my want of success. A moment 
afterward, or on another day, I would enter the same neighboring 
apartment on one pretext or another, but now with the set purpose 
of producing sleep, and almost within a minute the most complete 
result would be obtained. Here no other suggestion than the mental 
one is to be thought of, for expectant attention when brought to bear 
with full force in the preceding experiment, had been absolutely with- 
out effect. The conditions of these experiments controlling 1 one 
another as they do, are so simple and so effective, that I call attention 
to them as constituting a sort of schematism for use in demonstra- 

This observation is highly instructive. In fact, negative control- 
experiments are of special interest. We recall a counter-proof of this 
kind demanded by Bertrand, and which was successfully made by 
Dupotet. Similar facts are found in Mr. Peter Janet's narrative, and 
in most of the cases wherein an action purely mental is alleged. The 
subject may be touched, passes may be made, we may pretend that it 
is our purpose to endorm him, and no result will follow. 

But this is of very rare occurrence ; the majority of very highly 
sensitive subjects undergo ideoplastic action, and I even believe that 
some of those who are capable of being influenced at a distance will 
not withstand an imaginary action ; and that consequently Mr. Heri- 
court's negative test cannot be decisive. But what appears to be 
certain is, that subjects that are suggestionable mentally, or from a 
distance, are less suggestionable verbally. They feel the real action, 
however weak it may be, but do not influence themselves. True, this 
may be due to training rather than to any positive difference in sensi- 
bility. In these latter times suggestion is the fashion ; practitioners 
are suggesting all sorts of hallucinations to their subjects ; and the 
Nancy school has for a long time been doing nothing else. Such 
being the case, it is no wonder that there should be plenty of subjects 
to afford rich amusement, though they be quite unsuited for a serious 
study. Where all is imagination, true action remains unperceived. 
Quite different was the practice of sober-minded magnetizers like 

1 The word is used in its original, etymological sense of " checking by a double 
register or double account." Webster marks " control," in this sense, obsolete. But 
multa renascentur qua iam cecidere ! — Translator. 


Bruno, Puysegur, Deleuze, etc. They took pains to lead their som- 
nambules without driving them, and to develop their simple faculties 
rather than their suggestional mobility. Verbal suggestion is not to 
be disregarded, for it may render great service to therapeutic ; but we 
must, above all, develop the native properties {propridte's sinceres) of 
this extraordinary sensibility if we would make real progress as 
regards theory. Little wonder that with suggestion run mad, mag- 
netism has been made a laughing-stock and somnambules have been 
replaced by hurdy-gurdies. 

13. Let us again consider the experiments made from a distance 
upon Mrs. B. 

a. " Without advising her of what he intended to do, Mr. Gibert shut 
himself up in a neighboring room, at the distance of 18 or 20 feet, and 
there tried mentally to give her the order to sleep. I remained with 
the subject [says Mr. Janet] and observed that, after a few moments, 
the eyes closed and sleep began. But what seemed to me specially 
curious was, that in the lethargy she was not at all under my influence. 
I was unable to produce in her either contracture or attraction, though 
I remained beside her while she was entering the sleep. On the other 
hand, she was entirely obedient to Mr. Gibert, though he had not 
been present ; finally, it was Mr. Gibert that had to awaken her, and 
that proves that he had endormed her. There may be some doubt, 
however, as to this point. Mrs. B. certainly was not unaware of the 
presence of Mr. Gibert in the house ; so, too, she knew he had come to 
endorm her; hence, though the supposition seems to me to be hardly 
probable, one might say that she put herself to sleep by suggestion 
at the very instant when Mr. Gibert was giving the order from the 
neighboring room. 

b. "October 3, 1885, I called on Mr. Gibert, at his residence, at 
half-past eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and asked him to endorm 
Mrs. B. by a mental order without quitting his study. The woman 
was, on this occasion, in nowise forewarned, for we had never en- 
dormed her at that hour. She was in another house at least 500 
yards distant. I forthwith repaired to where she was, to note the 
result of this singular command. As I expected, she was not at all 
asleep. I then endormed her myself by touching her, and when she 
was in somnambulism, before I had addressed any question to her, 
she began to talk as follows : ' I know Mr. Gibert wanted to endorm 
me . . .. but as soon as I noticed that, I went and got some 
water and dipped my hands in the cool water, . . . I do not wish to 
be endormed in that way. ... I might become talkative . . . 
that puts me out and makes me ridiculous.' It turned out that she 
had, in fact, dipped her hands in cold water before my arrival. I 
record this experiment though it failed, because it seems to me inter- 
esting from many points of view. Mrs. B., then, appears to be con- 
scious, even in the waking state, of the influence that controls her ; 
she is able to withstand the sleep by dipping her hands in cold water ; 
finally, she did not lend herself kindly to the experimentation, and 
that fact may be regarded as a guarantee of her honesty. 

c. " October 9, I again visited Mr. Gibert and asked him to endorm 
Mrs. B., not immediately, but at twenty minutes before 12. I went 


straight to her unaccompanied by Mr. Gibert, who I am certain could 
not have had any communication with her ; I expected to be able to 
prevent her from putting her hands in cold water should she attempt 
to do so again. I was unable to watch her as I had intended, for she 
had gone to her chamber a quarter of an hour before and closed the 
door, and I thought it best not to put her on her guard by having her 
called down-stairs. At fifteen minutes before 12 I went up to her 
room with some other persons who accompanied me. Mrs. B. was 
reclining in a chair in a very uncomfortable posture and in deep 
sleep. It was not natural sleep, for she was totally insensible and it 
was absolutely impossible to awaken her. I remark again that neither 
I nor any one of those present had any influence upon her or was able 
to produce any contracture whatever. The first words she uttered 
as soon as the somnambulism appeared spontaneously were these : 
' Why send them so ? I don't want you to make me act foolishly. 
Do I look like a fool ? Why does he, Mr. Gibert, endorm me from 
his house ? I didn't have time to dip my hand in my basin.' As I 
had no influence over her, it was impossible for me to awaken her, 
and as we could not leave her so we had to go and fetch Mr. Gibert. 
As soon as he came he produced all the phenomena which on that day 
I was not able to produce, and at last awakened her with the greatest 
ease. Is it to be supposed that my presence in the house and the 
knowledge I had of the time set by myself for the sleep to come on, 
had any influence upon her and put her to sleep ? I think not, but 
still the supposition is not unreasonable. We resolved to make the 
experiment in a different way. 

d. " October 14, Mr. Gibert promised me that he would endorm 
Mrs. B. at some hour of the day to be set by him or by a third per- 
son, but which I was not to know. I came to the pavilion where 
Mrs. B. was about half-past 4 o'clock. She had already been asleep 
for fifteen minutes, and consequently I had nothing to do with that 
sleep, and all I did was to ascertain its existence. I observed the 
same insensibility, the same characters as before, save that the leth- 
argy seemed still more profound, for there was no state of somnam- 
bulism at all. * Still, there were produced on that day other phe- 
nomena, but these belong to another order of ideas of which I will 
speak presently. Mr. Gibert did not come till half-past 5. He then 
told me that at the suggestion of Mr. B., he had given thought 
to the endorming of the subject about fifteen minutes after 4 o'clock, 
and that he was then at Graville, that is to say, at least two kilometers 
distant from her. He had no difficulty in producing contracture or 
in awakening the subject. It were well could this experiment have 
been repeated many times, and it is to be regretted that the depart- 
ure of Mrs. B. prevented us from making it again. Nevertheless to 
me it seems decisive, considering that it is but the complement of 
prior experiments and that it is connected with other facts of the 
same kind that we must now set forth. 

e. " October 14, the same day that Mrs. B. was' endormed from 
Graville, I observed during her sleep the following phenomena : At 
five o'clock precisely Mrs. B., while asleep, began to moan and to 
tremble, and then to mutter these words : ' Enough, enough, it is very 
unkind of you.' She sat up, and, moaning, rose to her feet and made 
a few steps ; then laughing aloud, she threw herself backward into the 
armchair and fell into deep sleep. At five minutes past five the same 


scene precisely was enacted : she rose, stood up, and seemed inclined 
to walk ; after a few moments she said, laughing : ' You cannot. Let 
your thought wander ever so little, and I am myself again ;' and, in 
fact, she lay down again and once more was asleep. The same scene 
was repeated at ten minutes past five. When Mr. Gibert arrived, at 
half-past five, he showed me a card that had been sent to him by a third 
person, Mr. D. ; he could not have had any eommunication whatever 
with Mrs. B. from the time when the card had been sent. It was 
suggested that Mr. Gibert should order Mrs. B. to perform different 
acts of some complexity at intervals of five minutes, after five o'clock. 
These acts, plainly because they were too complex, were not per- 
formed ; but at the very moment when Mr. Gibert, at Graville, was 
ordering them to be done, I, at the distance of two kilometers, with 
my own eyes, saw the effect those orders produced and a beginning 
made toward carrying them out. Mrs. B., in fact, seemed to have 
cognizance of the orders, to withstand them, and to be able to dis- 
obey them only because of a sort of distraction on the part of Mr. 
Gibert. We began this experiment again, placing ourselves this time 
beside her during the lethargic sleep. Strange to say, the result, con- 
trary to what might have been expected, was not more noteworthy. 
The person who endorms Mrs. B. can easily enough, by a mental 
order, make her sit up, and even rise to her feet ; but whether be- 
cause the concentration of thought does not last long enough, or 
whatever the cause may be, Mrs. B. is not slow to ' get herself back 
again,' as she says, and to resume the reclining posture. The order 
mentally given has an influence that seems immediate, but, as far as 
we have been able to see, that influence seems not to be greater anear 
than from afar." 1 

" Later, in a new series of experiments, after a rather lengthy train- 
ing of the subject, I myself succeeded in producing at will this curious 
phenomenon. Eight times consecutively I essayed to endorm Mrs. B. 
from my own house, taking every possible precaution so that nobody 
might be aware of what I intended to do, and each time changing the 
hour of the experiment, and in every instance Mrs. B. was put in the 
hypnotic sleep [hypnotism from a distance !] a few minutes after the 
time of my beginning to fix my thought upon the matter." 2 

The details of these new experiments will be read with interest. I 
take them from Mr. Janet's second note presented to the Society for 
Physiological Psychology, May 31, 1886 : 

" These'new researches have had to do particularly with sleep pro- 
duced by action at a distance, for that phenomenon is of the highest 
importance and seems to be easily verifiable. As I was resolved to 
make sure of the reality of the phenomenon, I sought to produce it 
myself repeatedly and with all possible precision, and will begin with 
an account of these experiments. 

" Mrs. B. had been back in Havre since February 10; her health had 
continued to be very good, and she had had no nervous attack since 
her last journey. Once only had she been indisposed, she said, and 
the circumstances of her indisposition were these : A person living in 

1 Bull, de la Soc. de Phys. Psych., 1885, vol. i. Paris, 1886. 

2 P. Janet, " Les Phases Intermediaires de l'llypnotisme." Rev. Scientif., May 

8, 1886. 


the part of the country where she was, and who at other times used 
to endorm her with the greatest ease, had tried again to produce in 
her the magnetic sleep. He made the attempt repeatedly during 
three consecutive hours, yet did not succeed in endorming her. As a 
consequence of this experiment Mrs. B. had a severe headache, and 
was indisposed for some days. She did not understand the matter at 
all ; in her simplicity she believed that she could not be endormed 
any more, and that even we could no longer succeed. But we were 
not at all concerned, for we remembered how, on the eve of her leav- 
ing Havre, at the last somnambulic seance on October 14, Mr. Gibert 
had forbidden her to be endormed by anybody outside of Havre. 
The suggestion had been made mentally, that is to say, Mr. Gibert 
had done nothing but simply to think upon that command while near- 
ing his forehead to the forehead of Mrs. B. Still, I cannot cite this 
fact as a clear case of mental suggestion, for I am not sure that we 
did not discuss in her presence, during the sleep, the possibility of 
such suggestion. In any case, it is seen that the suggestion was per- 
fectly effective during four months. As soon as Mrs. B. was with us 
again, Mr. Gibert, without a word of explanation, pressed her hand as 
he had been wont to do before, and in two minutes she was asleep ; 
the following day I endormed her with the greatest ease in a few 

"I tried by endorming her often myself to acquire over this woman 
an influence sufficiently strong to warrant me in essaying with some 
prospect of success to give her from a distance the order to sleep. At 
first I would endorm her by holding her hand or seizing her thumb, 
without trying any other procedures. After a few days I was able to 
bring about sleep much more speedily. Previously it took me three 
or four minutes, and sometimes longer, to endorm Mrs. B. I produced 
the sleep now in half a minute. To endorm Mrs. B. it was no longer 
necessary to fix the mind on the order to sleep ; physical action exerted 
upon her hypnogenic point on the thumb superseded all other kinds 
of influence. The mental command retained its importance when the 
subject was not touched, when she was endormed by mental sugges- 
tion exercised in the room where she was. That experiment was still 
performed very readily, but there was no certainty that the attitude 
of the magnetizer did not play a greater part in producing the sleep 
than his mind did. 

" After a dozen seances, at which I myself had endormed Mrs'. B. 
six times, I essayed to give her the order to sleep, I not being beside 
her, but in a neighboring room. The experiment was successful. 
After thinking for five minutes upon endorming her, I entered her 
room and saw her completely endormed, her head and her body lean- 
ing in the direction of where I had been. The experiment, however, 
is not conclusive, for Mrs. B. evidently suspected my intention. 

"February 22, after fourteen somnambulic seances, and after en- 
dorming her myself eight times, I for the first time attempted to give 
her from a distance the order to sleep. I was at my house, some 400 
or 500 meters away from the pavilion where Mrs. B. was, when I 
essayed to concentrate my mind upon the order, 'Sleep,' as I had 
many a time done when she was present. I did not perhaps bring the 
necessary conviction, nor did I spend the necessary time, for I 
' thought ' hardly more than five minutes. At all events, I did not 
visit her till an hour later, being persuaded beforehand that my 


attempt was a failure. To my great astonishment, the people of the 
house told me that Mrs. B. had been much indisposed for an hour; that 
she had had spells of drowsiness and been forced to suspend her work ; 
that to free herself from this feeling she had had to drink a glass of 
water and to bathe her face and hands. Mrs. B. herself told me of 
her indisposition, which she did not explain. It is well to remark 
here that in the waking state she has not the slightest suspicion that 
she may be endormed from a distance. This coincidence — which, to 
say the least, is a singular one — showed two things : (1) That proba- 
bly I exercised from a distance a certain action upon this woman, and 
that there was good reason for trying again ; and (2) that, for what- 
ever reason, whether for want of accustomance or because of the 
action of the cool water, Mrs. B. was able still to withstand that 
action and so was not endormed. 

" For two days more I endormed her from anear by touching her. 
During her waking state I asked her not to put her hands in water 
again ; without giving her any reason, I persuaded her to believe — 
what was not without truth — that she was doing herself great harm 
by struggling so against a transient drowsiness. In the state of som- 
nambulism 1 repeated the prohibition, so reinforcing my recommen- 
dations with the power of suggestion ; and February 25, without 
acquainting any one with my intention, I made the same experiment 
again. Under the same conditions as before, about five o'clock in 
the evening, I gave thought to endorming her, fixing my mind as in- 
tently as possible, and almost without distraction, upon that object 
for eight minutes ; then I went straight to her. She lay upon a sofa 
in deepest sleep ; no shaking could arouse her. But if I but pressed 
her fingers, or touched her lightly on the arm, the subjacent muscles 
underwent strong contracture ; if I opened her eyes to the light she 
went into true catalepsy, with the characteristic immobility of atti- 
tudes ; if I closed her eyes, she reverted to the prior state. Thus she 
was plainly in the hypnotic sleep, which, by a strange coincidence, 
had set in just a few minutes before my coming. She was not slow 
to bestir herself (s'agiter) and to talk in the lucid somnambulism ; she 
showed great joy on finding me near her, and was perfectly aware 
that it was I that had endormed her at five o'clock. 

" Two further experiments, one on February 26, and the other on 
March 1, were not entirely successful ; Mrs. B. only felt an indis- 
position, and was distracted in her mind by persons who were talking 
to her at the moment when she was about to fall into the sleep. 

" But March 2, at my house, I began at 3 o'clock p. M. to give the 
same order: I did not see Mrs. B. till an hour later and found her in 
a singular attitude. She was seated and was hemming a napkin ; 
her eyes were open ; the motion of sewing went on with great regu- 
larity but with extraordinary slowness — she took no more than three 
or four stitches a minute. Without speaking a word, I seized her 
arm and left it in the air ; it stayed there motionless. She was in 
true catalepsy, and that state continued, to the amazement of the 
persons present, for one hour. Little by little she had ceased to 
answer questions, and had remained thus motionless. I lowered her 
eyelids, and forthwith she fell back, and in that state of somnam- 
bulism, in the lethargic form, kept repeating, ' Oh ! I am sleepy. You 
make me ill by talking to me. I am sleepy ; I am ready to drop. 
Mr. Janet does not wish . .- . . when will he come ? ' In a 


moment of lucidity she recognized me, took me by the hand, with an 
exclamation of satisfaction, and then fell into quiet, dreamless sleep. 

" On the next day, March 3, Mrs. B. was not endormed and was 
very well. 

" On the 4th a curious incident occurred. I wanted to endorm 
Mrs. B. from my house by means of the usual mental order, and had 
been giving thought to the act for three or four minutes, when several 
persons coming in interrupted my singular occupation. To begin 
again was impossible, and when, an hour later, I visited the pavilion 
where Mrs. B. was, I supposed the experiment had failed utterly. 
Mrs. B. was in a chair, apparently asleep since three-quarters of an 
hour before ; in accordance with directions from me no one had dis- 
turbed her. I wished to take her hand to produce the characteristic 
contractures, but she at once started, opened her eyes, and rose to 
her feet, saying that she was not at all asleep. Nevertheless, her 
eyes were dull, her walk unsteady, and I had to support her in order 
to conduct her to another room. But she soon was sound asleep 
after touching my hand. Is there not something curious in this 
drowsiness, this half-sleep, coming just on the day and at the hour 
when my thought was fixed upon endorming her, though I had not 
sufficient time ? 

" March 5, under the same conditions, this time about 5 o'clock 
p. m., for ten minutes I gave thought to endorming her ; a few min- 
utes later I found her in the same cataleptic state already described. 

" March 6, Mr. Gibert essayed to endorm her from his house at a 
quite different hour — 8 p. m. He was entirely successful, though he 
had not endormed the subject for eight days. We may remark that 
on this day a third person had regulated his watch by Mr. Gibert's, 
and observed Mrs. B. closely. It was found that she fell asleep at 
three minutes past 8 exactly. Such precision makes chance coinci- 
dence highly improbable. 

" For a few days following we made no attempt at producing sleep 
from a distance, and on March 9, when I tried to recommence the 
experiments, I failed. 

" March 10, Mr. Gibert endormed her from his house. The same 
day he made a very interesting experiment. But as I was unable to 
be present when it was made, and as it was repeated later, I defer the 
description of it. On the nth and 12th no experiment. On the 13th 
I endormed her from my house at 4 p. M.; at 4:15 I found her in the 
cataleptic state. She was sewing, with the same automatic movement 
as before ; her task was a rather complicated one, and she performed 
it well, but very slowly. Without speaking a word, without touching 
her, I simply gave her the mental order to sleep on and more deeply. 
She gave a sigh, the movements of the hands ceased, and she re- 
mained motionless in the last position assumed. I persisted, and she 
leaned back in the state of complete muscular relaxation. A tap 
on the tendons of the wrist now produced the contractures special to 

" March 14, at 3 p. m., I again endormed her in the same way, and 
found her in the state of lethargic somnambulism, motionless. 

"March 16, it was agreed between us that Mr. Gibert should en- 
dorm Mrs. B. by mental action from his house, and that he should 
endeavor, while still at home, to make her get up and come to us. 
My brother, Julius Janet, interne of the Paris hospitals, who happened 


then to be in Havre, was to go wit'i me to Mr. Gibert's before 8 p. m., 
at which hour it was our intention to begin the experiment. An un- 
foreseen delay prevented us from going to Mr. Gibert's early enough, 
and" the experiment could not begin till 9 o'clock. 1 note this insignifi- 
cant incident, because if by any extraordinary chance Mrs. B. had been 
advised of our intention, she would have fallen asleep, perhaps, and 
have started out at 8 o'clock, and not at 9. Now see what did hap- 
pen. As I did not wish to have the sleeping woman walk through 
the streets unattended, I left Mr. Gibert and went toward the pavilion 
where she was. I did not enter, lest my presence should produce a- 
suggestion, but remained on the street at some distance. A few min- 
utes past 9 o'clock Mrs. B. came briskly out of the house. She was 
bareheaded and walked at a rapid pace. I went up to her and saw 
that her eyes were fast shut, and that she manifested all the signs of 
her somnambulic state. She avoided all obstacles so deftly that I 
was reassured, but she was very slow to recognize me. At first she 
repulsed me — she did not wish, she said, to be accompanied. After 
going some 200 meters she knew who I was and seemed to be pleased 
that I was with her. But I was worried a good deal by her frequent 
halts. She would stop and sway to and fro as though about to fall. 
I was afraid lest she should suddenly fall into a state of lethargy or 
of catalepsy, which would have made the walk difficult. But nothing 
of the kind happened ; she righted herself and reached the house 
without a mishap. Hardly had she entered when she dropped into 
an armchair in profoundest lethargy. This lethargy was interrupted 
only for an instant by a period of somnambulism, during which she 
murmured : 'I am come ; I saw Mr. Janet. I considered that I must 
not come by way of Etretat Street — too many people there.' (She 
of her own accord took another street.) ' A man came up tome, 
said I was blind, the fool.' Then she remained for a good while 
asleep. Later she was somnambulic again and said that she had felt 
much fatigue and hesitation during the walk because, as she said, Mr. 
Gibert had not thought continuously enough upon making her come. 
She had been endormed, as I was informed afterward, a few minutes 
before 9 o'clock, that is to say, at the time when Mr. Gibert had been 
' thinking,' but she had not set out for his house till five or six min- 
utes later. 

"This experiment was repeated with the same success, once in 
presence of Mr. Paul Janet on April 20, and another time in presence 
of Messrs. Myers, Marillier, and Ochorowicz, on the 22d. We may 
remark that Mrs. B. does not sleep so evenings, and does not walk in 
somnambulism. 1 

" Such is the history of the experiments upon the producing of 
sleep from a distance, made during this second series of researches. 
Mrs. B. had left us March 18 ; but several persons, among them my 
uncle Mr. Paul Janet, Dr. Charles Richet, the Messrs. Myers (of 
Cambridge), Dr. Ochorowicz and Mr. Marillier, having expressed a 
desire to witness a few of these experiments, we induced her to return 
to Havre, April 11. 

" I was much concerned about the success of the experiments, for 
in my opinion they were made under faulty conditions. Till then I 
had not been able to produce sleep from a distance, save after train- 
ing the subject for a considerable time — an hour a day, for 14 or 15 

1 See Part I, chapter iv. 


days at least. Now, these gentlemen were to be in Havre two or 
three days after the arrival of the somnambule, and she must needs 
have lost in a month a good deal of her hypnotic habitude. To make 
good this deficiency, I endormed the subject several times a day. In 
this way I attained my object — that is, I produced a higher degree 
of sensibility, but at the same time brought about an untoward result. 
Mrs. B. was exceedingly fatigued ; she had frequent headaches, which 
completely spoiled the normal phenomena. 1 Finally, after a few days 
it befell that she was in a state of almost continual drowsiness. Once 
she fell spontaneously into catalepsy, without any suggestion, two hours 
after having been awakened. It is my opinion that on that day, after 
two very protracted hypnotic seances, she was wakened awrong. 

" However that may be, here is the simple record of the experi- 
ments in producing sleep at a distance, made during this third sojourn 
of Mrs. B. at Havre. April 14, being alone with her, I endormed her 
without touching her, but being in the same room. Sunday, the 18th, 
I was still alone, and for the first time in this series of experiments 
tried to endorm her from my house. I succeeded perfectly ; she was 
asleep 10 minutes after I began 'thinking.' Monday, 19th, my uncle, 
Mr. Paul Janet, arrived in Havre I wanted him to see the subject 
previous to making any experiments, but he chose rather to ask Mr. 
Gibert to endorm her immediately from his house, for then nobody 
would be forewarned. Taken unawares, Mr. Gibert made the attempt 
at 4 o'clock ; we found Mrs. B. completely endormed at 4.15. Tues- 
day, the 20th, Mr. Gibert again endormed her from afar at 8 o'clock 
p. m., in presence of Mr. Paul Janet, and by mental suggestion made 
her come to his house, as I will relate presently. Unfortunately, on 
the two days following, the 21st and 2 2d, for sundry reasons, among 
which the subject's fatigue and her headaches counted for a good 
deal, two experiments by Mr. Gibert to produce sleep at a distance 
were but partially successful ; the subject was not endormed till half 
an hour later after a long resistance. But the same day, April 22, 
Mr. Gibert endormed her much more promptly in the evening, and on 
Friday and Saturday, at times set by Messrs. Myers, Ochorowicz and 
Marillier, I endormed the subject from a distance with full success 
and great precision. 

" The gentlemen named left us on Easter Sunday, and it was abso- 
lutely necessary that the subject should be allowed to rest. I did not 
resume the experiments till May 4, when I endormed the subject from 
anear ; but on the two days next following I again obtained sleep 
from a distance. A recital of these experiments would possess no 
interest, for it would be the same as the foregoing ones." 

Mr. Janet concludes with a summary of the experiments on pro- 
duction of sleep at a distance, made whether by himself or by Mr. 

Of twenty-two experiments six failed ; and of these six, three were 
made at the very beginning, when the somnambulic habit was not yet 
sufficiently strong ; one was made later, but after an interruption of 
the seances for a few days ; and two when the subject had held out 

1 These headaches could have been cured in a few minutes by imposition of the 
hands and by suggestion. [This note is apparently added by Dr. Ochorowicz. — 

Translator ,~\ 


for more than half-an-hour before she fell asleep. In short, sixteen 
successes, "definite and complete." 

" Are we to suppose," asks Mr. Janet, " that the coincidence in 
these sixteen cases, though precise, was the result of chance ? The 
supposition is, perhaps, slightly improbable. Was there all the time 
an involuntary suggesting on our part ? The only answer I can give 
is, that with perfect honesty we took every possible precaution to 
guard against it." 

All these experiments tend to prove not only action at a distance, 
but also : 

1. The importance of "rapport," a relation that is brought about 
only by several consecutive magnetizations, and which puts the stamp 
of individuality on every successful experiment (the subject always 
knows whether it is Mr. Gibert or Mr. Janet that has endormed her 
from a distance, and the profundity of the state produced depends on 
the closeness of the " rapport ") ; 

2. The importance of sustained concentration of thought on the 
part of the magnetizer ; 

3. The absence of any perceptible difference in the degree of mag- 
netization between action at the distance of a few paces and of a few 

(The same thing is seen in telephonic communications. The voice 
grows faint only when the distance is considerable, and even in that 
case the difference is determined by thickness of wires and by second- 
ary circumstances — induction, electro-static capacity, etc. — rather 
than by the essential nature of the transmission. With a wire of cop- 
per instead of iron, with large diameter and well insulated, speech 
might be transmitted over thousands of kilometers. For us, the wire 
represents the " rapport.") 

But the question of limits is as yet rather premature. Let us simply 
note the fact that the greatest distance mentioned in the foregoing 
experiments is ten kilometers. 

If we suppose the phenomenon to be real, it is interesting to know 
what conditions are favorable or unfavorable to transmission from a 
distance. Mr. Aubin Gauthier 1 is the only magnetizer that has ven- 
tured to formulate them. According to him — 

1. Inanimate bodies do not interrupt action from a distance; 

2. Plants assist it ; 

3. Certain animals interfere with it ; 

4. A number of men may hinder it. 

Finally, he adds that "in stormy weather it is difficult to magnetize 

not only from a distance, but even in presence of the subject." 

It need not be said that I quote these assertions only as a matter of 


1 " Traite Pratique du Magnetisme," p. 531. Paris, 1S45. 





AS. MORIN, in his interesting study, 1 says : " Communication 
. of thoughts is one of the faculties oftenest noticed in lucid 
subjects, and often even it underlies several other kinds of lucidity 
that the observer fancies he finds, though in reality they do not 
exist. . . . There are very few somnambules that can discover 
your thoughts as they exist connected and formulate them in the self- 
same expressions that you have in your mind. Usually the somnam- 
bule takes some fragments of your thoughts while you are bidding 
him discover either matters in the past or occurrences at a distance, 
and then the lucid subject fancies that he has actually seen these 
things, though he has only read them in your mind. If after this you 
wish him to read your thoughts, however much you may concentrate 
your attention on what you mean to make him see, you will not suc- 
ceed. Thus, the lucid subject steals your thoughts unbeknown to 
himself and to you, and when you propose to him as a performance to 
read your thought, he cannot do it. As regards this latter point there 
are some exceptions, notably the case of a cataleptic patient recorded 
by Mr. Puel ; but they are very rare. [Morin, who wrote in i860, 
could not, of course, know of the experiments recently made by the 
English Psychical Research Society, and by others.] And, above all, 
let not the reader jump to the conclusion that with a good somnam- 
bule he can at will penetrate the secrets of hearts. In case a lucid 
subject does read a few thoughts, he does so only with regard to persons 
with whom he is in rapport, and even that faculty, thus restricted, is 

1 " Du Magnetisme et des Sciences Occultes," pp. 185-188, and 283-289. Paris, 


variable, intermittent, subject to illusion, so that the subject fancies 
that he possesses it when he does not, and flatters himself that he 
penetrates your thoughts, though he has discovered nothing, and gives 
out as a discovery the vagaries of his imagination." 

Morin does not point out the probable causes of this variability. 
But these general observations are just, with this exception, that a 
well-behaved somnambule will never say that he sees this or that 
when he does not see anything. However, it is not difficult to test 
what he says. 

Morin refers to thought-communication the apparent action of the 
will. He does not believe in a fluid, nor in any physical action, nor 
in direct will-action upon the organs of the subject. If the latter 
permits a limb to be cataleptized, or a sense to be paralyzed or 
hyperaesthesiated, that is because, after having divined the thought 
of his magnetizer, he himself influences his own body. 

But Morin also rejects the hypothesis of a real transmission of 
thought ; according to him thought is transmitted only by the usual 
signs. And to prove this divination by the outward signs of thought, 
he invokes in turn phrenology, physiognomy and chiromancy. As 
for phrenology, I really do not see what it has to do here, for no 
phrenologist hitherto has ever held that by touching the correspond- 
ing organs on the skull, one may divine thoughts j and besides, som- 
nambules who divine thoughts do not touch the phrenological organs. 
Then, as phrenology itself is not a demonstrated science, we have a 
right to leave it out of account. 

The same remarks apply to chiromancy. But, as regards physiog- 
nomy, or rather pathognomy (expression-signs in general), the com- 
parison here is worthy of attention. There is no doubt that our 
thoughts, and still more our feelings and our character in general, 
are reflected on our countenance, that " mirror of the soul." "Among 
the signs and tokens that the exterior of the human body may thus 
manifest, there are some that strike every observer ; the man addicted 
to drunkenness, for example, does he not bear upon his face the shame- 
ful tokens of his habits ? There are other signs, the reading of which 
requires a good deal of sagacity. Lavater was gifted, in this respect, 
with a perspicacity that one might be tempted to regard as divina- 
tion ; he read faces as one reads a book. If the rules he laid down 
failed to constitute the science of physiognomy, or to develop physi- 
ognomists as clever as himself, the principles on which he based his 
system are none the less true, and the results he reached prove that 
all that is needed to complete his work is to formulate the method 
that instinctively guided him with admirable certitude." 

Here I agree entirely with Morin. Physiognomy has a positive 
basis in a general determinism that applies no less to the development 
of organisms than to their stable characters, and which, with regard 


to the matter in hand, may be thus stated : Nothing in the exterior of 
a living organism is accidental. We need but to know the causal rela- 
tions that indubitably exist. But we are still far from that consum- 
mation, and I even believe that, the sooner to reach it, it were well, 
instead of formulating the laws of physiognomies — it is yet too early 
for that — to continue the study of pathognomy, to the revival of which 
Darwin lent the weight of his high authority. 

The expression of states more or less fleeting, of diseases, pains, 
emotions, attention, and will-tendencies, is a far more convenient 
subject of experimental research than the expression of characters by 
fixed traits, which for a long time to come we shall be able to judge 
of only by a sort of intuition based on unconscious experience. 

It is nevertheless certain that they who from childhood have been 
in the habit of observing, are able to read with close approximation 
to the truth a man's character in his physiognomy. In the case of 
sharp contrasts error, indeed, is almost impossible. The somnambule 
might possess the same faculty, and turn it to account in divining 
feelings, tendencies and habits. 

And here is another point worthy of notice with regard to the divi- 
nation of diseases. There is a certain work, now very rare and quite 
forgotten, that is unique in its kind. Its author was a distinguished 
physician, professor in the University of Freiburg, Dr. K. N. Baum- 
gartner, and its title is " Physiognomice Pathologica: Kranken-Physi- 
ognomik " (Stuttgart and Leipsic, 1839). It is a big quarto volume, 
with an atlas giving the physiognomic types of all the chief diseases. 
The figures, which are nearly of life size, are painted by hand and after 
nature, by excellent artists. Highly interesting to the physician is this 
crystallization, so to speak, of pathological signs that enable you to 
distinguish by the countenance a disease of the heart, for instance, from 
a disease of the uterus, and which thus prove that all is reflected in the 
face. Many experienced physicians possess this faculty of apprecia- 
tion. It may be possessed in a certain degree by somnambules, in 
virtue of their lifelong unconscious experience, which, though in the 
waking state, amid the pressure of conscious acts, they perceive it not, 
may manifest' itself in the psychic isolation of somnambulism. 

So, too, with regard to the signs of emotions ; and Morin should 
have noted in particular the modifications of the voice, which, even 
against our will, betray our sentiments, and especially our approval 
and our doubts. Divination of a thought depends sometimes upon 
these faint signs. " The physical is the expression of the moral," 
justly observes Morin ; then he concludes : 

"The lucid subject that penetrates one's thoughts does only what 
is done by the phrenologist, the physiognomist, or the chirognomist, 
only he sees a host of material signs that elude our sight and that are 
the complement of the indication's furnished by examination of the 


skull, the visage, or the hands. The lucid subject therefore possesses 
only means like those we possess, but his are much more extensive. 
Observation of the organs is everything. He is unable to explain, 
either to us or to himself, the value of each sign ; it is a sort of lan- 
guage that he comprehends instinctively without knowing its princi- 
ples ; nor need that surprise us, for we all are acquainted with the 
first elements of that language, without having learned them, and 
though we are unable to formulate its rules. . . . Suppose that 
at a party some one happens to talk of matters the mention of which 
angers one of the persons present, and that the latter lets his feelings 
find expression in his countenance ; everyone will notice it, and it will 
be said, for example, that the man is angry, or meditating revenge, 
or that his hate is restrained by fear, and so on. But ask the com- 
pany what were the physical signs that revealed so many things to 
them, and they will answer that they do not know, but that they are 
sure of the correctness of their judgment, and that the sentiments in 
question were manifested in such a way as to leave no room for 
doubt. In like manner, the somnambule that reads the thoughts of 
others cannot tell how they are manifested to him ; all that he knows 
is that he sees them." 

In short, as Morin himself puts it, " the question is simply one as to 
the way in which somna??ibules see material objects." 

Precisely here is the weak point of the theory. 

In the first place, it is not well to leave out of view the sensations 
of hearing and smell ; then, as the somnambule's eyes are shut, or, at 
least, he does not use them to divine thoughts, Morin's theory does 
but refer back an unsolvable problem to another not less so — " How 
do somnambules see material objects ? " But that is another question. 
As for us, we do not care even to touch it ; yet one might be tempted 
to suppose that Morin, who, to explain thought-communication, refers 
it to somnambulic vision, is able to explain for us the latter. But no ! 
He rejects all known hypotheses and "confesses his ignorance." 1 

So we are back at our starting-point. 

We would add that Morin's theory (though it may apply in certain 
cases) does not explain the experiments wherein the subject turns his 
back to the operator, and has his eyes blindfolded ; and a fortiori it 
does not explain any action from a distance. 

Mr. L. Figuier 2 has broadened this theory, still accepting the same 
principle. According to Figuier, all is explained by an exceptional 
exaltation of the senses and of the intelligence in the state of sleep. 
The somnambule has no other sensations but those of our senses ; but 
his perception being exalted, he perceives the faintest signs, voluntary 
or involuntary, proceeding from the magnetizer, and through these 

1 " Du Magnetisme et des Sciences Occultes," p. 271. 

9 "Hist, du Merveilleux," vol. iii., pp. 408-11. 3d ed. Paris, 1881. 


divines the magnetizer's thoughts. " The transient exaltation of the 
senses of the magnetic somnambule," says he, " explains, we think, 
the phenomenon called by the magnetizers suggestion or penetration of 
thought. When a magnetizer announces that his somnambule is going 
to obey an order mentally expressed by him, and when the somnam- 
bule performs that feat — a thing, by the way, that is pretty rare — it is 
not impossible to account for the seeming miracle which, were it real, 
would upset all our physiological notions, and, indeed, all the known laws 
of animated nature. In this case, a sound, a bodily movement, a sign of 
whatever kind, an impression imperceptible to the rest of the company, 
suffices, in view of the extraordinary tension of the somnambule's 
principal senses, to enable him to understand, without any supernatural 
means, the thought that the magnetizer wishes to communicate to 
him. Thus, no more in this case than in others, is the magnetized 
individual privileged to break through the common barriers with which 
nature has hemmed in our powers." 

Of course; " Ad id sufficit natura quod poscit," as Seneca said. But 
since that Stoic's day " the common barriers of nature," though they 
have not been broken through, have been set pretty well back, and 
besides, if there is any theory which might have checked the develop- 
ment of all the notions of modern physiology, assuredly it is the theory 
of insuperable barriers, had it been accepted before those notions were 
acquired. Who shall say just where those barriers stand ? A metallic 
plate, for instance, can that talk like a human being ? yea or nay ? 
Mr. Bouilland — and he was no common man — said no ; to accept such 
a fact were to upset all our notions of physiology. So said Mr. 
Bouilland right in the face of Edison's phonograph in full Academy, 
and he throttled the luckless interpreter of the famous American in- 
ventor, accusing it of ventriloquism. 

But why and how must mental suggestion upset all our notions of 
physiology ? 

Not all of them, surely! I hope the theory of digestion, at least, for 
one thing, may stand unmoved. So, too, the theory of blood circula- 
tion, as well as the theories of respiration, reproduction, etc. 

The theory of perception alone is at stake. But can it be that the 
existence of some subtile mode of transmission does away with the 
facts and the laws of a transmission that is visible and palpable ? 
Did the invention of the electric telegraph do away with railroads ? 

No, we must not overstrain the maxim — a very wise one in its way 
— which recognizes certain natural limitations of all science. Let us 
not be more naturalistic than nature herself ; let us leave to her the 
initiative of opposition. 

In short the theory of Morin and Figuier, though these admit the 
facts of mental suggestion, does not account for those facts as a 
whole, and is hardly applicable -to cases where there is anything like 


definite transmission, many of which are cited by those authors them- 
selves. Still, it is not to be denied that their theory might to advan- 
tage be developed so as to help explain a great number of mixed 
cases in which the normal perception exalted is combined with true 
transmission. Further, it must be allowed to possess this advantage, 
that it rests on an eminently scientific principle, that of referring the 
unknown to the known as far as possible. Only, I think it applies it 

Anyhow, it is an evasive hypothesis. It turns the difficulty round 
instead of facing it. 

Come we to theories that frankly accept the phenomenon. 




IN the first place, we have to quote Bertrand. That eminent analyst 
did not, it is true, develop a complete theory of suggestion, but 
he did publish many clear ideas upon the subject that deserve to be 

Bertrand, too, does not believe in action at a distance, nor, in 
general, in any physical action whatever ; he is the scientific father 
of the suggestional theory of magnetism. According to him, it is the 
subject that influences himself by imagination ; but the subject's imagina- 
tion may be influenced by an extrane thought, even without any outward 
sign. Thought is transmitted ; will, not. Consequently, if the subject 
executes the order given, the reason is not that the magnetizer's will 
has acted on the subject's members, but that, having perceived the 
magnetizer's thought,. the subject consents to execute it. "The Count 
of Lutzelburg, wishing to get light upon this subject, made the fol- 
lowing experiment : He whispered in the ear of a witness that which 
he wished a somnambule to execute, and asked the patient if his 
thought determined her to act. ' I know it,' [the thought] she 
answered, ' and I execute that which you will. You willed, without 
telling me so, that I should sit down, and I obeyed.' ... In 
general," adds Bertrand, " magnetizers nowadays [1823] seem to me 
to accept with inconceivable levity the opinion that the will of one 
man influences another man directly ; but I know not any notion that 


is more easy to overturn if one will but reflect upon it with some 
little attention. In the first place, there is nothing that is so inward 
to us as our will ; will alone constitutes personality, the Ego." (Ber- 
trand confounds here several phenomena. Personality is not the Ego, 
nor is the Ego the will ; personality is a complex of all the psychic 
characters proper to the individual ; the Ego is but a focus, a central 
point of this complex whole ; the will is but a resultant of tendencies.) 
" And if the magnetizer's will took possession, as is supposed, of the 
person of the somnambule, the latter would be but an automaton 
actuated by springs extraneous to the magnetizer's second body." 

Well, yes ! It does often happen that the somnambule is nothing 
but an automaton. . Bertrand, taught in the humanitarian school of 
Puysegur and Deleuze, knew nothing of our modern magnetizers with 
their hurdy-gurdies. Furthermore, he was one of those who asked of 
patients the permission to do them good. " For the rest," he adds, 
" I know not how it is that the believers in this influence of the will 
are not appalled by the consequences to which it leads. According to them, 
a heedless somnambule, an agent actuated by an impulsion from with- 
out, may seize a dagger and bury it in the breast of his own brother, 
being powerless to withstand the will that dominates him, and being 
unconscious of his act till after the crime has been perpetrated. For- 
tunately, the case is not thus, and all the facts that have given rise to 
the strange opinion I am arguing against are powerless to prove more 
than communication of thought and the limited influence that such 
communication may have upon the determinations of the somnam- 

Here, again, Bertrand is in error. The experiment has not been 
made with mental suggestion, but many a time with verbal suggestion, 
and it is entirely certain that in states more or less near to monoideism 
the subject may commit a crime he is ordered to commit, and that 
without a suspicion of what he does, even after he has done the act 
ordered. Resistance is not possible save in full somnambulism, and 
may be suppressed by a few passes. About five persons in 100 will 
be unable to make any resistance. But the question of morality must 
not be mixed with questions of fact. What's true is true, and that is 
all. If we were to be " appalled by the consequences " in studying a 
problem, we should never reach new results, for everything that is 
new appals the conservative. Was not Jesus Christ crucified on ac- 
count of his "dangerous novelties?" Neither Socrates nor Kopernik 
dreaded the consequences of a truth : they left to others the trouble 
of condemning them. 

Fortunately, times are changed. To Mr. H. A. Taine is credited 
the following reply when some one reproached him with publishing 
doctrines that might be dangerous : " I never have thought that a 
truth may serve for anything." - 


But It may serve for something, only we must not trouble ourselves 
about it in advance. And I am certain that the sway of the magnet- 
izer's will over the magnetized subject, when it is rightly understood, 
will be productive of far more good than evil. 

" So to sum up," concludes Bertrand, " I think it absurd to suppose 
that in any case an extraneous will can act directly upon the organs of 
somnambules, and still less upon their determinations [the first phrase 
is correct, the second erroneous] ; but it seems to me that a number 
of facts sufficient to produce conviction prove that not seldom som- 
nambules have cognizance of the will, or the thoughts, of those with 
whom they are in rapport, and that this cognizance may determine 
them to act and produce upon them the same effects as though one 
had spoken to them. I will add that as this phenomenon results 
from the sympathic communication of the brain-movements of him 
who gives the order, the somnambule will all the more easily know 
the order given to him if it be accompanied by some gesture, which, 
as it cannot be made without a greater movement of the cerebral fibers, 
will help the communication : this is what is confirmed by experience 
in every case, and this is what I myself have observed. Besides, the 
opinion I express has been adopted by many magnetizers." 

It is readily seen that the sharp distinction drawn by Bertrand be- 
tween thought-transmission, which he accepts, and will-transmission, 
which he rejects, is a rather idle distinction. He had need to make 
yet another in order to be entirely right, namely, a distinction between 
direct action of will upon the peripheric organs, and transmission of 
will to the brain. As for the muscles, for example, it is nearly certain 
that without a local physical excitation of the tendons or the nerves, 
it is impossible to set them in motion by the act of an extraneous 
will ; but that is not what is implied by the phrase " suggestive will- 
action." And once thought-transmission is granted, there is no reason 
for an outcry against those who believe that the tendency to any 
movement whatever may be transmitted as well as a purely passive 
and objective idea. As soon as you awaken a sentiment, you awaken 
also a tendency that is proper to it. Now, Bertrand does not deny 
the transmission of sentiments. Consequently, it being understood 
that the phenomenon cannot occur, save by a reflex action of the brain, 
there is no longer any need of drawing a hard and fast line of dis- 
tinction between will and thought. 

Bertrand has always in view a polyideic state of the brain, and that 
is what leads him astray. When there are man)'' thoughts, they may 
resist the execution [of the order], and if it is executed, it is so 
only through the consent of those thoughts. But what if there are 
not many thoughts ? When all opposition is done away by the state 
of aideia or of nascent monoideism, will not the thought " inoculated " 
[into the subject's mind] and made dominant by the very fact of its 


isolation, determine execution? And it is just in that state that we 
must make direct experiments. 

As to the how of the transmission Bertrand has hardly anything to 
say. But he seems to regard exaltatio?i of the brain with paralysis of 
the external senses as an essential condition, and he very justly compares 
the sympathism of diseases, which he verified many times, with sym- 
pathism of ideas, which is more rare. 

" Communication of ideas," he says, " is oftenest presented by 
ecstatic somnambules, and that, I think, is due to the fact that their 
state of moral exaltation could never have been produced without a 
considerable augmentation of the brain's sensibility, an augmentation 
that promotes, betwixt the brain of the somnambule and the brains of 
those around him, a sympathic communication like to that in virtue of 
which he feels, in other portions of his body, the pains of those in 
rapport with him." In another place Bertrand adds : " It has been 
seen that my will, though not expressed, had a true action upon the 
patient in the state of paralysis, and had no action that was instan- 
taneously perceptible in the waking state." ' 

We shall see further on the importance of this simple remark. 



BERTRAND'S sympathism, while it is not clear, has nothing mys- 
tical. It was a sort of induction, in the electrical sense of the 
word. A thought was supposed to induce a like thought, as an 
electric current induces a like electric current. Nothing passed from 
one brain to another brain. Was that an action at a distance — a very 
small distance (for Bertrand did not believe in anything else) ? 
Doubtless it was, but Bertrand has not pronounced any judgment on 
the question. The transmission has not been explained. 

Several magnetizers have tried to fill the gap by supposing some- 
thing that passes from brain to brain, and naturally have attributed to 
this intermediary qualities now [psychical, again physical, according 
to the bias of their several minds. 

Let us consider for a moment the first hypothesis. My soul acts 
upon another soul. What more natural than to suppose a real trans- 

1 " Trait6 du Somnambulisme," etc., pp. 246-283. Paris, 1823. 


ference of my thoughts ? Such a supposition would cause no em- 
barrassment to a spiritist. If my thought is able to move my body, 
and if my subject's thought can move his body, then to explain all I 
have only to suppose my thought to pass into his brain. How clear ! 

When the problem was to account for vision at a distance, the 
solution was simply that the soul of the subject, after quitting his 
body for a moment, went forth to see what was going on a hundred 
leagues away, and then came back- and told what it had just seen. 

It was a little awkward to leave the body so, without a soul. But 
the spiritists found a way out of that difficulty : the soul remained, 
the mind it was that made the excursion. 

So with regard to transmission of thought. The soul (or mind if 
you will) not having any limits, as the body has, could easily stretch 
itself a little, so as to occupy for a moment an extraneous position, 
there perform whatever act was to be performed, and then double itself 
up and get back into its shell. Descartes recognized the impossibility 
of an action of thought upon extension (matter), but not upon another 

Consequently they might intermingle ; and could anything surprise 
us in this affair, our surprise would be that this happened so seldom. 
We should rather look for a universal interchange. " Pass over to me 
your experiences and I will pass to you my hopes " — that would be a 
convenience ! One man might go to school for the benefit of all, and 
then sell his ideas at so much a lot. 

Unfortunately, the time is not yet come for this kind of commerce. 
We are even not quite sure whether a soul or a soul's thought can 
leave its body ; or whether after it has quit the body it becomes more 
potent than it was just before. But that would have to be proved 
first of all. 

Instead of supposing a direct passage [of thoughts], some spiritual- 
ists are pleased to allege an action equally mystical, but still more 
vague. " We know," (?) says Chardel, ! "that obstacles and distances 
vanish for a lucid soul. It troubles itself no more about them : it 
gives itself up naturally to this new mode of investigation, and therein 
seems only to recover its manner of action that is proper to it [Chardel 
does not indicate the source of his knowledge], and which the loosen- 
ing of the bonds of life has just given back to it." 

It is as easy as to say, " Good morning ! " 

Others, without supposing a translocation or a mystical enlargement 
of the faculties, give us a glimpse of an almost physical "radiation." 

" The mind," 4 says the Grand Master of Spiritism, 3 "is not shut up 
in the body as in a casket ; it radiates all around ; therefore it can 

1 C. Chardel, -'Essai de Psychologie Physiol.," p. 286. Paris, 1838. 

2 Or "spirit," esprit. — Translator. 

3 Allan Kardec, " Le Livre des Esprits," p. 185. Paris, 1862. 


communicate itself to other minds, ' even in the waking state, though 
more difficultly than in sleep." 

That is pretty ; but it would have to be proved that there exists an 
analogy between a soul and a lantern. And even that would not be 
enough, for a lantern only gives light, whereas a soul can command 
movements. True, a ray of light can make a Crookes radiometer to 
go round, but no one has yet determined what a ray of the mind is, 
nor what it can do. 

The necromantic spiritists, 2 as we know, believe in a transmission 
of thought between embodied souls and disembodied spirits. " Spirits 
have only the language of thought ; they have no articulate lan- 
guage," we are assured by- Allan Kardec, 3 and we may take his word 
for it. 

So, if a spirit has anything to say to us, it must needs employ an 
interpreter. The medium is the interpreter. 

"It is the medium's spirit that is the interpreter, because it is con- 
nected with the body that serves to speak." 4 But in most cases this 
one intermediary is insufficient. " The familiar spirit is nearly always 
the one that acts as interpreter, to communicate to the medium the 
thought of the spirit evoked, when the latter is so exalted as not to 
deem it proper that he should come in person, or when other occupa- 
tions hinder. Thought is communicated between spirit and spirit 
directly, and without the aid of spoken language. If you evoke a 
spirit that knows not your language, he transmits his thought directly 
to your familiar spirit, who translates it into the language that you 
know and that is familiar to you." 5 

Certain spiritualists have gone further still. They believe in the 
need of spiritual interpreters not only for a communication between a 
living man and an evoked spirit, but even between the magnetizer 
and his subject. " The influence that is exercised by one man on 
another man through the action of magnetism," says Dr. Billot, 8 
" comes from an auxiliary either unknown or misknown, and only its 
presence can give the solution of the phenomena of magnetism." 

This auxiliary is the world of spirits, good or evil — evil spirits par- 
ticularly, the Marquis of Mirville assures us. 

These authors take the exorcists' point of view : man cannot per- 
ceive the thoughts of men ; therefore, if he seems to perceive them, it 

1 Or "spirits." 

2 Spirites. Here the author is speaking of spiritists of the Rochester-knockings 
sort : so to make the meaning clear I render the word as above, necromantic spiritists. — 

3 " Le Livre des Mediums," p. 271. 

4 Id., p. 268. 

5 J. Roze, " Revelations du Monde des Esprits," p. 18. Second series. Paris, 

6 Billot, " Recherches Psychologiqnes," etc., vol. i., 12. Paris, 1839. 


is because his guardian angel — or the devil — has whispered them to 

We will not waste our time in examining these extra-scientific fan- 
cies. We would only remark that even if credulousness can carry- 
men to these lengths, reckless incredulity is not a whit better. 
" Doubt," says Arago, " is proof of modesty, and has seldom hindered 
the progress of science. We cannot say as much of incredulity." For 
a striking proof of the result of a diseased skepticism, one need but 
read Mr. Mabru, " Laureate of the Academy of Sciences." That 
author wrote a book of 560 pages 1 to say that he sees nothing in 
magnetism (p. 5) in spite of all the letters he has written and all the 
conferences he has held. For him " magnetic somnambulism so-called 
does not exist any more than the fluid, and the phenomena that are 
attributed to somnambulism are nothing but pure illusion." 2 Puy- 
segur was fooled by his maid-servants, who simulated clairvoyance 
"to get higher wages," and so on. 

He, too, supposes an interpreter for the phenomena of transmission, 
to wit, a colluder. " In order not to be duped by the clever tricks so 
often repeated in certain magnetic parlors, all that we have to do," 
says he, " is to eliminate the colluder. . . . There is no animal fluid, 
no artificial somnambulism, no magic, no sorcery ; these pretended 
sciences possess in reality no scientific fact ; and when, by means of 
immobility of body and strained attention, somnolence is produced in 
a sick patient or in a subject that is fatigued [but in fact this is done 
with healthy persons and persons whose senses are alert], the sleep is 
only common sleep. It possesses none of the miraculous properties 
of the so-called magnetic sleep. Often there are tricks of collusion ; 
but these apart, it is utterly false that there exists between the endormer 
and his subject any relation, or any psychic state, except the ordinary 
relations of everyday life. Not only does the thing not exist, but it 
cannot exist." s 

"There are errors," say Cabanis, "to which only wits are liable." 
Mr. Mabru has not this excuse, but he has another. La Bruyere says : 
" All the wit in the world is of no use for him that has none." 

The other day Mr. Mabru was surpassed by a member of the 
Academy of Political and Moral Sciences. Mr. Mabru wished at least 
to learn ; he asked for demonstrative facts. Mr. Desjardins, for his 
part, does not want to see anything, and will not suffer others to see. 
He condemns the study of hypnotism. He has not studied anything 
— that need not be said — but he is fully convinced that all the experi- 
ments in suggestion, whether of a therapeutic, a pedagogic or other 
nature, have been " pitiful failures." But they are hurtful and criminal, 
nevertheless. Not only the hypnotizers, but the hypnotized also, should 

1 E. Mabru, " Les Magn6tiseurs Jug6s par Eux-memes." Paris, 1885. 

2 Id., p. 356. 3 /*, P- 483. 


be punished, for "man has no right to abdicate his humanity and his 

It is to be hoped that the honorable jurisconsult will not rest 
there. He ought to propose an enactment against those that sleep 
o' nights, seeing that it must not be permitted to a man to transform 
himself voluntarily into an inert mass and to abdicate his free-will. 
"As we might well expect," says Mr. P. Fauvreuil, "this eloquent 
protest has been approved unanimously and its author has been 
warmly felicitated. Mr. Arthur Desjardins has dealt hypnotism a 
stunning blow from which we hope it will not recover." ' 

Time will tell. Be it noted only that this took place August 13, 
1886, thus in the 19th century, in France, in Paris, at the Academy. 




OST magnetizers believe in the existence of a vital or magnetic 
nerve-fluid. A good deal of sport has been made of this fluid, 
and the subject, we must confess, invites such treatment. But those 
who have made many experiments are alone qualified to decide the 
question, and they tell us that often appearances are as though some- 
what passed from the magnetizer over to the subject. 

This subtile fluid is supposed to serve as an intermediary between 
mind and body. This it is that excites the muscles and transmits 
sensations to the brain ; this, too, it is that, under the impulsion of 
the will, projects itself outward and affects the nerves of the subject. 
Being of an eminently motile nature, if it is influenced by the environ- 
ment as Well as by the impulsions of the mind [or thought, pense'e\ it 
must reflect the man's personality, his feelings and sentiments, his 
will — it must be impregnated, so to speak, with the modifications of 
his mind. On uniting with another like fluid, though the same be in- 
dividually different, it may transmit to it the same modifications. It 
is the fluid, then, that transmits thought, and the latter need not quit 
its body to act on another body. 

This theory was first expounded by Lecat, 3 doctor of medicine and 
professor of physiology. His fluid is called the animal fluid, and it is 

1 Soleil newspaper of August 15, 1886. 

2 Lecat, " Traite des Sensations," pp. 154, 242. Paris. 1767. 


interesting to find that as early as 1767 there was an effort made to 
account for certain mysterious transmissions. "This fluid," says 
Lecat, " being affected with the special character of a passion, carries 
the impression of it into the animal fluid of other individuals," ' for 
" sensations and impressions [or impresses — pressions\ consist of modi- 
fications of the animal fluid, and these characters are communicated to 
fluids of the same sort, and are susceptible of change at every in- 
stant." 2 This fluid is an emanation, which the author, like most 
magnetizers, often confounds with odoriferous emanations. We quote 
one more passage : 

" Once we recognize the evident facts that prove that the different 
characters of the animal fluid and of the vegetal fluids produce in the 
fluids of other individuals emotions, changes of characters, considerable 
revolutions, according to their consonance or dissonance, we shall have 
no difficulty in conceiving all the effects that result from their natural 
concurrence or from their conflict, of whatever sort they may be — 
intellectual, animal, or animo-vegetal." 3 

Such, in few words, is the theory of the magnetic fluid. 

But why magnetic ? 

To answer that question, let us hear what is said of it by the chief 
advocate of this theory, J. P. F. Deleuze : 

" A somnambule is sensible of [saisit'] the will of his magnetizer, he 
executes what is mentally demanded of him. To understand this 
phenomenon we must consider somnambules as infinitely mobile mag- 
nets ; no movement occurs in the brain of their magnetizer but is 
repeated in them, or at least they perceive it." 4 

But it was the more patent and more frequent phenomenon of 
attraction that suggested this analogy. Let the reader recall Bruno's 
experiment, which exhibits this phenomenon in an exceptional degree ; 
but it is very common to see the subject's hand attracted by the ap- 
proach of the magnetizer's hand, and following its movements. A 
magnet brought near to the subject produces the same phenomenon ; 
and, though this action is not, properly speaking, magnetic, we know 
that such phenomena may well have determined the choice of the 
term " animal magnetism," which is not any worse than the term 
" electricity," as applied to certain well-known phenomena that have 
nothing to do with electron (amber). 

Puysegur, too, was struck by the analogy existing between a 
compass-needle and a mentally-suggestionable subject ; but, as we 
shall see, he laid no stress upon this seeming analogy.' 

Deleuze makes yet another comparison : " We know," says he, 
" that if we place side by side two stringed musical instruments that 
are in unison, and twang the strings of the first one, the corresponding 

1 "Trait6 des Sensations," p. 154. 2 Id., p. 549. 3 Id., p. 242. 

4 Deleuze, " Hist. Critique du Magnetisme," p. 181. Paris, 1813. 


strings of the second sound of their own accord. This physical phe- 
nomenon is like that which takes place in magnetism." ' 

According to this last analogy, the magnetic fluid carries the 
psychic vibrations as sound-vibrations are carried by the air. 

And here is what this author says of action at a greater distance : 

" Though it is very difficult to explain how the magnetic fluid can 
act from one apartment to another, most magnetizers are convinced 
of the reality of such action. I myself have made experiments that 
go to prove it. Nevertheless, that phenomenon being one of those 
that to me seem inconceivable, I invite magnetizers to examine it 
anew (1813), refusing to believe in it until they have verified it by 
their own experience. But light and sound travel to great distances, 
yet we cannot see in the motor agent that gives them forth a force 
sufficiently great to propel them rapidly, even through bodies. 
Whether light is an emanation from luminous bodies, or whether it is 
an undulation of ether, it is not easy to understand how the light of 
a coal or the flame of a candle makes itself visible instantaneously at 
a great distance through transparent bodies, or how the light of a star 
comes to us. Perhaps phenomena that we refuse to believe, because 
we have not observed them, are no more incomprehensible than other 
phenomena that do not astonish us at all, because we see them every 
day." s 

He then adds this with regard to the conditions of magnetic action : 

" In order that the fluid that goes out from me may act upon that 
of the man I magnetize, the two fluids must needs unite, must needs 
have the same tone of motion. If I touch with purpose and attention, 
and the one upon whom I wish to act is in a passive state or state of 
inaction, my fluid will determine the movement of his. There occurs 
then something like what takes place between a magnetized bar of 
iron and one not magnetized ; when you pass many times, always in 
the same direction, one over the other, the one communicates to the 
other its motion or its virtue. That is not an explanation, but a 
comparison."- 3 

" Once the nerves are permeated by a certain quantity of fluid, they 
acquire a susceptibility of which we have no conception in the ordinary 
state. Regard the magnetized individual as in some sense a part of his 
magnetizer, and you will not be astonished that the will of the latter 
should act upon him and determine his movements. That is all that 
I can say about the principle of magnetic action and will-influence." ' 

Evidently it is not an explanation. But, then, neither Deleuze nor 
any of his successors ever flattered themselves that they had explained 
the whole mystery. They have merely insisted upon the necessity of 
accepting a physical action — in their language " emission of the 

1 " Hist. Critique du Magnetisme," p. 180. 

s /rf,p. 85. */</-, P- 91- *M,p. 93- 


fluid " — in order to understand as well as ma)' be possible the different 
phenomena of transmission. "The will," says Lafontaine, "cannot 
act upon another body materially. Our will acts only upon ourselves 
by producing a more active secretion in the brain and contractions in 
the plexus : hence the emission of a greater quantity of the fluid, and 
greater intensity in the action. . . . We can, therefore, justly say 
that the magnetic phenomena have one sole cause, the vital fluid, and 
that here, as everywhere, the will is but an accessory. . . . The 
belief that the will acts upon the magnetized individual is founded on 
one of the effects presented in the somnambulic state. A somnambule 
of developed lucidity sees his magnetizer's thought and obeys the 
mental order. That is a transmission of thought ; from it the infer- 
ence has been drawn that the will to which the subject is thus obedient 
is the cause ; but that is a mistake : cause is confounded with effect. 
The transmission of thought is but the result of the special state in 
which the subject is. If the magnetizer is not in the proper state of 
health and strength ; if he is tired, exhausted by any overdoing or 
excess whatever, he will be able to do nothing, or next to nothing [he 
can hypnotize, however], even though he bring to bear all the will- 
power he has. If, on the other hand, the magnetizer is perfectly 
sound and vigorous, and magnetizes perfunctorily, distractedly, 
without clearly defined intention, he will prodiice, nevertheless, positive 
effects. '. . . To end the magnetic state, one must demagnetize, 
must free the subject or the member on which one has acted, of all 
the fluid one has transmitted to him, and however much the magnetizer 
may will the member or the magnetized individual himself to be 
restored to the normal state, that willing of itself is insufficient ; one 
has, furthermore, to act physically, and if one does not that, or does it 
slightingly, the result often is distress that may involve serious con- 

That last remark, apart from the theory of the fluid, is fully justified. 
We often hear of the injurious consequences following a magnetiza- 
tion. Now, never — and I bottom my remark upon an experience of 
19 years — never can a magnetization do any harm if the conditions 
are duly observed ; on the contrary, it must always be more or less 
beneficial ; the least favorable case is where the effect is null. But 
experiments made hurriedly, for the sake of the effect, by strolling 
magnetizers or by hypnotizers that have not studied the literature of 
the subject, are very often harmful, and the main cause of the 
untoward results is an i?isufficient demagnetization. The beneficial 
effect of the magnetization is reduced by one-half, and sometimes 
serious mischief is done, by a premature, a too sudden, or an imperfect 

"The advocates of will-influence," says the same author, "seem 
to rely upon another example to strengthen their cause. When a 


magnetizer, from a distance and without any movement, endorms a 
subject that he is in the habit of magnetizing, or even when he mag- 
netizes a person for the first time, they assume that the will alone 
acts. That is a mistake. The magnetizer, by concentrating himself 
in himself, produces the emission of the fluid, which hits [frappe] the 
subject and endorms him. Here, as everywhere, there is simply a 
projection of the vital fluid." 1 

This theory is simple, indeed. Were there such a fluid it would be 
very convenient for explaining facts ; and oftentimes, especially in the 
therapeutic application of magnetism, we must act as if the fluid existed. 
But, in the first place, it is certain that in very many cases the inter- 
vention of the fluid is theoretically of no use ; and that even where we 
are compelled to recognize a physical action, it does not prove the 
transmission, nor even the existence of a special fluid. In a word, the 
theory of the fluid is too simple in view of the complex facts, and too 
complicated in view of the simpler ones. 

But herein Lafontaine is perfectly right, to wit : in maintaining that, 
action at a distance once admitted, a physical action must be assumed. 
Thought, as such, can neither walk abroad nor radiate elsewhither than 
in a brain to it belonging, or to which it belongs. But since the emis- 
sion or transference, as well as the very existence of a special vital 
fluid, is incapable of demonstration, we must seek a more positive 
principle to elucidate our problem. 



THE general belief is that Mesmer was the propounder of the 
thepry of a nervic, vital, or magnetic fluid, which, becoming 
detached from our body, is projected outward, is borne at need 
through space, and so on. That is an error propagated by those who 
have not read Mesmer, or have been unable to understand him. The 
theory we have sketched — and it is a very ancient one — was elaborated 
by the collective efforts of several of his i?idirect disciples, and in par- 
ticular by the revelations of somnambules, who explained things as 
best they could. Finally, the authority of Deleuze, who himself points 
out this source, easily won popularity for a theory that anyone could 
grasp, that was comprehensible to the uncultured imagination, and 

1 " L'Art de-Magn6tiser," pp. 25-34. 


that seemed to explain all. But it was in flat contradiction to Mes- 
mer's doctrine, which was known only to his direct disciples. His 
course of instruction has never been published entire ; but the extracts 
from it that were published by Puysegur, as well as his Aphorisms, 
his Memoirs, and certain fragments that lay long unpublished, prove 
sufficiently how inexact is all that is said about him. 

They show him to have been a mind profound as well as original, 
that may well have parted with the qualities of modesty and disin- 
terestedness that characterized him at first, for he had to face a univer- 
sal outburst of derision, the like of which surely never has been heard. 
Mesmer understood somnambulism better than Puysegur, who in his 
enthusiasm exaggerated its value ; in some respects he understood it 
better than the hypnotizers of our day, who do not know even Mes- 
mer's disciples. At first people were fain to call him charlatan ; then 
little by little they began to discover what he had discovered ; they 
merely altered names so as not to compromise themselves, but they 
left to him the title of charlatan. Tis brutal, but the fact is thus. 

I will state Mesmer's theory as far as it concerns the problem in 
hand : 

Whatever is amenable to investigation may be expressed in two 
words : matter and motion. But to reach this conclusion we must 
efface from our cognitions the superficial impress given to them by 
the senses. " We acquire all ideas through the senses : the senses 
convey to us only properties, characters, accidents, attributes ; the 
ideas of all these sensations are expressed by an adjective or epitheton, 
as hot, cold, fluid, solid, heavy, light, shining, sonorous, etc. For these 
epitheta substantives have been for convenience' sake substituted ; 
soon the properties were substantified ; we say heat, gravity, light, 
sound, etc., and lo ! — the origin of metaphysical abstractions." 1 

These substances 2 were multiplied, personified. Hence ghosts, 
divinities, demons, genies, archei, and so on. " We still retain a cer- 
tain number of these entities, which we must eliminate in order to get 
a clear view of phenomena. That is in general terms the end I pur- 
pose to attain " (p. 18). 

Matter presents several degrees of fluidity. Water is more fluid 
than sand, for it can fill the interstices between the grains of sand ; 
air is more fluid than water, for it can be diffused through it ; ether is 
more fluid than air. It is difficult to determine where this divisibility 
ends, but we may suppose there are still many degrees of this kind, 
and that there exists a universal primitive matter, the graduated con- 
centration of which constitutes all the states of matter. However 
that may be, it must be allowed, according to Mesmer, that all space 

1 " Memoire de F. A. Mesmer, Docteur en Medecine, sur ses Decouvertes " (1778). 
Nouv. ed. avec des notes du Dr. Picher Granchamp, p. 17. Paris, 1828. 

2 That is, these substantified adjectives. — Translator. 


is filled, and we may well call the fluid which fills all the universal fluid. 
" Some physicists have already," says he, " recognized the existence 
of a universal fluid, but they have erred in defining its characters, in 
overloading it with properties and specific powers [vertus] that we 
cannot have cognizance of" (p. 22). This fluid exists though we feel 
not its presence. It is all around us, and with regard to it we are 
nearly in the same situation as fishes, which no doubt would be much 
surprised were one of themselves to declare that all the space between 
the bottom of the sea and the surface is filled with a fluid in which 
they live ; that in this medium alone do they come together and go 
apart, and that it is the one means of their reciprocal relations (p. 22). 
" The universal fluid is simply the sum of all the series of matter in 
the highest state of division through the movement of its particles." ' 
By it the universe is fused and reduced to one mass. Ail that can be 
predicated of it is, that it is fluid by pre-eminence, and consequently 
that it must in particular govern transmissions of motion more subtile 
than those effected by other and better known fluids. Water can give 
motion to a mill ; the air transmits sound-vibrations, the ether light 
vibrations, the universal fluid transmits life- vibrations. Each of these 
series answers to a degree of phenomena, and the vibrations of each 
of these series cannot be perceived save in a corresponding degree of 
the organization (/. e., of the aggregation) of matter (p. 24). Neither 
heat, nor light, nor electricity, nor magnetism, is a substance, but they 
are effects of motion in the different series of the universal fluid. 
While it is neither heavy, nor elastic, etc., this fluid determines the 
phenomena of gravity, of cohesion, of attraction, etc., as results of 
the re-actions of the motion communicated. 

Properly speaking, there is in nature no attraction ; it is only a 
seeming effect of communicated movements, and in general all prop- 
erties, all so-called forces, are but a combined result of the organization 
of bodies, and of the movement of the fluid in which they exist (p. 25). 
This fluid it is that governs the mutual influences of all bodies ; and 
as these actions and re-actions are, so to speak, symbolized in the 
mutual influence of the magnet and iron, we may give the name of 
universal magnetism to this general mutual influence. Nothing is 
exempt from this influence, which may be more or less inappreciable, 
but which theoretically has no limits. The heavenly bodies act upon 
us and we re-act upon the heavenly bodies, as well as upon the bodies 
around us. The property of the animal body that makes it capable 
of such action and re-action may be called, by analogy with the mag- 
net, animal magnetism (Aphorism 8). Consequently, magnetism, 
whether the universal or the animal magnetism, is not a fluid, but an 
action j motion, not matter ; transmission of motion, not an emanation 

1 L 'ensemble de toutes les series de la matiere la phis divise'e, par le mouvement de ses 
particules. » 


of any kind. No displacement can take place without replacement, for 
all space is filled (p. 39), and that presupposes that if a motion of 
the subtile matter is produced in one body there is forthwith pro- 
duced a like motion in another similar body capable of receiving it, 
whatever the distance between them (p. 39). 

"Considering," adds Mesmer, "that reciprocal action is general 
between bodies, that the magnet furnishes us with the model of this 
general law, and that the animal body is susceptible of properties 
analogous to those of the magnet, I hold the term animal magnetism,, 
which I have adopted, to be fully justified. ... I see with regret 
that this phrase is thoughtlessly abused ; when one has familiarized 
himself with it, he flatters himself that he possesses the idea of the 
thing, whereas he has only an idea of the word. As long as my dis- 
coveries were regarded as chimaeras, the incredulity of some savants 
left to me all the glory of the discovery ; but since they were com- 
pelled to recognize its reality, they have taken to quoting against me 
the writings of the ancients, in which occur the phrases, ' universal 
fluid,' ' magnetism,' ' influence,' and so on. We have to do not with 
words, but with the thing, and, above all, with the usefulness of its 
application " (47). 

Life is but a manifestation of a subtile motion, the stoppage of 
which is death. Among these subtile motions, sensations hold a chief 
place ; all actions are the results of sensations (p. 49). The sense- 
organs correspond to different degrees of subtility in the vibrations 
that influence us f and they are not capable of being influenced save 
by a special sort of vibrations. But nerve-matter itself, as the 
supreme product of organization, is capable of being influenced 
directly by the most subtile vibrations of the most subtile matter : to 
wit, the universal fluid. This faculty, hitherto overlooked or mis- 
conceived, Mesmer calls the inner sense (sens inte'rieur). 

Here I remark that this term recurs oft in the history of psychol- 
ogy, but in a different sense. Even Aristotle deals with this question. 
After him Albertus Magnus, Occam, Giordano Bruno, Cremonius, 
and many others, speak of a sensus interior, or even of sensus interni. 
But the term has been employed either in the sense of a sensus com- 
munis, bringing together all sensations, or in the sense of perception 
and consciousness of oneself. 

Commonly the psychologists did but travesty the problem posed 
by Aristotle : " Must we suppose a sixth sense to see what the eye 
sees, to hear what the ear hears, etc.," or else (as in modern psychol- 
ogy) they gave the name " inner sense " l to the faculty of perceiving 

1 This faculty is what Sir William Hamilton calls the vital sense, synonyms of 
which are " subjective sensation" (Huxley), " ccenoesthesis," "vital feeling." It is, I 
believe, called by French physiologists le sens de la vie — the sense of life ; the feeling 
we have of our own vital processes. — Translator. 


the inward bodily sensations {Selbstempfindungcn). The meaning given 
to it by Mesmer is different. He believes that nerve-substance in 
general and the gray matter in particular can be affected directly by 
the vibrations of the universal fluid. Herein he sees a source of 
vague cognitions, commonly inappreciable, particularly by man, in 
whom the sense-impressions and the development of reflection smother 
these faint perceptions ; but in the animals, whose senses are less 
perfected, this purely cerebral sensibility makes up for the imperfec- 
tion of the senses, and in many ways takes their place. It puts them 
in relation with all nature, enables them to divine directions in space, 
to forefeel terrestrial or atmospheric changes, and in general forms 
the sort of unconscious experience to which we give the title instinct. 
In man this faculty manifests itself only exceptionally, in normal 
sleep and especially in somnambulism, when the ordinary senses are 
in abeyance and there are no conscious thoughts to overpower it. 
" If it be true," says he, " as I shall endeavor to show, that we are 
affected by the enchainment of things and of events that succeed one 
another, we may see the possibility of presentiments and other like 
phenomena " (p. 50). 

In the state of "crisis " the somnambule's senses may extend to any 
distance. All nature seems to be present to them. Even dictates of 
will are communicated to them without regard to any of the con- 
ventional means. These faculties differ according to the individual 
(p. 52) ; the most usual phenomenon is for a somnambule to see the 
interior of his own body, or even of others' bodies. But it is a rare 
thing to find all these faculties in the same person. 

" How can a man receive the impress of a will not his own ? " 

" This communication can take place between two individuals in the 
normal state only when the movement resulting from their thoughts is 
propagated to the vocal organs, and to the parts that serve to express 
the natural or the conventional signs ; these movements are then 
transmitted to the air or to the ether as intermediaries, and are received 
and sensed by the external sense-organs. These same movements, thus 
modified by thought in the brain and in the nerve-substance, being 
communicated at the same time to the series of a subtile fluid with 
which that nerve-substance is in continuity, can, independently and 
without the aid of air and ether, extend to an indefinite distance and 
report direct to the inner sense of another individual." 

" From this a notion may be had of how the wills of two individuals 
can communicate by their inner senses, and consequently of how there 
may exist a reciprocity, an accord, a sort of understanding between 
two wills, which relation we may designate as rapport" (p. 75). 

" As this sort of sensations are not to be had, save through the 
mediation of fluids as far excelling ether in subtility as ether excels 
common air, the means of expres'sion fail me : it is as though I wished 


to explain colors in terms of sound. I therefore must needs supply 
the deficiency with the reflections that may be made upon the con- 
stant pre-sensations of human beings, and more particularly of animals, 
with regard to the great occurrences of nature at distances all too great 
to be spanned by their ostensible organs ; upon the irresistible attrac- 
tion that causes birds and fishes to make their periodic migrations ; 
finally, upon all the relevant phenomena furnished to us by the crisis- 
sleep \_sommeil critique] of man " (p. 77). 

These pre-sensations may relate also to the past or to the future, for 
to see the past is simply to perceive the causes in the effects, and to 
see the future is to divine the effects from the causes. Whatever has 
been has left traces ; so, too, whatever is to be is already determined by 
the concatenation of causes (p. 76). 

But why is the state of sleep better fitted than the waking state to 
manifest these different transmissions ? Mesmer answers that ques- 
tion with the utmost precision. The reason is twofold : 

1. Because in sleep the sense-functions are suspended (p. 77), and 
the continuity of the common sensorium with the external organs 
more or less broken. "The impressions of circumjacent things, 
therefore, are made, not upon the external organs of sense, but di- 
rectly and immediately upon the very substance of the nerves. The 
inner sense thus becomes the sole organ of sensations" (p. 78). 

2. Because, in consequence of the senses being in abeyance, the 
psychic functions of conscious memory, of imagination, reflection, 
etc., which depend upon the senses directly or indirectly, are also 
suspended, and consequently the impressions made direct upon the 
cerebral substance " become perceptible by the very fact that they 
stand alone" (monoideism). "As it is the immutable law of sensa- 
tions that the stronger effaces the weaker, the latter may be percepti- 
ble in the absence of the former. If the impression of the stars is 
not perceptible to our vision in daytime as it is at night, though their 
action is the same, the reason is, that in the day it is effaced by the 
superior impression made by the presence of the sun" (p. 78). 

For individual transmissions from man to man we have to recog- 
nize two other conditions : 

1. That of rapport. .The special action between two individuals is 
facilitated by a sort of accord, by the production, natural or artificial, 
of a like tone of motion or of a like tonic motion, which makes a brain 
more susceptible of a vibration belonging to the same category (pp. 

2 4, 75)- 

2. That of education. For the perfection of this crisis-sleep not 
only varies according to the process [marc/ie] of the crisis, and the 
temperaments and habitudes of subjects, but also depends very much 
upon a sort of education that can be given them in that state, and on 
the way in which you direct their faculties; in this respect the sleep 


may be compared to a telescope, the action of which differs accord- 
ing to the means of adjustment (p. 81). 

In a state favorable to transmissions of all sorts man enters into 
relation with all nature, and we might compare him to a liquid whose 
surface, being in perfect equilibrium, reflects like a mirror everything 
in the universe, faithfully pictures all objects. But fancy that surface 
ruffled by all sorts of shocks (impressions made upon the ordinary 
senses), and you shall see the liquid agitated by innumerable undula- 
tions and re-actions, and the reflection of objects will disappear. 

But, plainly, it is but seldom that all these conditions of cerebral 
perceptivity are combined. Sundry observers, impressed by what 
they saw in exceptional case's, have supposed that they could at will 
develop lucid somnambules. They forgot that it is always in the 
state of sleep that dreams are commingled with true sensations. 
They confounded together magnetism and somnambulism, and so 
exposed both to the ridicule of men of sense. 1 

Mesmer does not hide from himself the fact that in spite of all the 
reserve one may exercise with regard to so delicate a subject it will 
be hard to convince those who have not themselves verified the phe- 
nomena. " Suppose," he says, "a people that of necessity must fall 
asleep at sundown, and that never awake till sunrise : such a people 
would have no conception of the magnificent spectacle of the night. 
Were one to tell them that there are among them men in whom this 
wonted ordering of sleep and waking is disarranged, and who, awak- 
ing in the night, have descried at infinite distances innumerable 
luminous bodies, new worlds, so to speak, one would doubtless be 
treated as a visionary because of the vast difference between the 
opinions held on the one side and on the other. Such to-day, in the 
estimation of the multitude, are those who maintain that in sleep man 
has the faculty of broadening his sensations " (p. 80). 

"In the memoir I published in 1779," says Mesmer again, " I made 
known the reflections I had made many years previously upon the 
universality of certain popular opinions, which, as I believe, are the 
results of the most widespread and the most constant observation. 
Thereanent I said that I had undertaken the task of inquiring what 
of useful and true might be contained in old-time errors ; and I felt 
warranted in asserting that among the vulgar opinions of all times 
[as imposition of hands, visions and oracles, influence of certain metals, 
mystic action of man on man, evil eye, power of taming animals, com- 
munication at a distance, presentiments and simultaneous sensations, 
influence of yearning and of prayer, transmission of health, strength, 
disease, etc.] there are few, however ridiculous, however extravagant 
they may seem, that may not be regarded as remnants of truths 
primitively recognized " (p. 3). 

1 " F. A. Mesmer," p. 79. By Dr. Kerner. Frankfort-on-Main, 1856. 


And as certain of these processes, by a too scrupulous observance 
(p. 44), by a blind application (p. 44), seemed to recall ancient 
opinions, ancient practices that have justly been regarded as errors 
(p. 89), " most of the men devoted to science and the healing art have 
considered my doctrine only from this point of view : carried away by 
these first impressions, they have neglected to study it thoroughly. 
Others, actuated by personal motives, by professional interest [interet 
de corps], have refused to see in me aught but an adversary that they 
must crush. To that end they employed first the so powerful weapon 
of ridicule, and the no less effective and more hateful one of calumny; 
at last they spread broadcast copies of a report ' that is destined to 
stand for all time as a monument that will insure little of honorable 
fame to the men that dared to sign it. Other persons, convinced at 
last, whether by their own experience or by that of others, have be- 
come enthusiasts, and have indulged in such exaggerations as to render 
all the facts unworthy of belief. Hence have resulted, for the weak 
and uneducated multitude, illusions and groundless fears. Such hith- 
erto have been the sources of public opinion adverse to my doctrine " 
(pp. 89, 90). 

Hitherto ! Yes, as late as 1886. 

" I willingly submit my theory to criticism, declaring that I have 
neither the time nor the will to reply. I should not have anything to 
say to those who, incapable of crediting me with straightforwardness 
and disinterestedness, would think only of attacking me with purely 
hostile intent ; and I should be pleased to see men of greater talent 
discover principles more solid, more luminous, men of larger mental 
endowment than myself develop new facts " — they have discovered 
new names — " and by their ideas and their researches render my dis- 
covery more interesting still. It will be enough for my fame that I 
have been able to open a vast field for science, and that I have in 
some measure traced the route of this new career" (p. 92). 

Such were the opinions of the illustrious " charlatan." 

We may take exception to several points of this hypothesis, and, 
indeed, I shall endeavor later to present the facts in a slightly 
different aspect ; but it will be allowed, I think, on comparing Mes- 
mer's ideas with those of his successors, that his is the only theory 
worthy of the name. 

How far removed we are here from the crudities of the magnetizers 
with their fluid running hither and yon ! which goes around walls and 
floats through the air to hit the predestined subject and to set itself 
up within his body ! Heedless of their master's admonitions, they 
have hypostasized, substantized an action, creating a new metaphysical 
entity, whereas he wanted to free us from the ancient ones. 

But how far removed we are also from the academic commonplaces 

1 1784. 


that attributed all the phenomena of magnetism to imagination, imita- 
tion, and jugglery ! Fortunately, prejudices pass away, and experience 
remains. Undoubtedly we are beginning to go back to the fountain- 
head. Dr. Despine, Jr., ' published in 1880, that is 200 years after 
Mesmer, the following reflections : 

" Explanation of the phenomenon of thought-transmission. Action from 
a distance upon the psychic phenomena of somnambules being no 
longer matter of doubt, let us try to explain it by means of natural 
agencies. Let us remark, in the first place, that the expression ' action 
at a distance ' comes from the belief that there is vacuum in nature. 
Now, that is not so at all." 

Before I proceed with the exposition of Mr. Despine's views, I will 
observe that though he is perfectly right in rejecting action at a dis- 
tance in the absolute sense of the term, that is, across a vacuum, he 
goes a little too far in affirming the non-existence of a vacuum. That 
was Mesmer's error, for he, too, regarded the universe as absolutely 
full. That supposition is incompatible with the idea of motion such 
as is necessary for explaining any transmission whatever. One can, 
indeed, conceive the motion of a sphere turning on its axis without dis- 
placement ; but when there is question of transmitting any motion, we 
must postulate a free space, a shock communicated through this free 
space, consequently a vacuum. To assume a medium more and more 
elastic, and which, because of this elasticity, opposes no obstacle, will 
not serve ; for when you assume a matter to the last degree subtile, 
you still must ascribe to it particles separated from one another by 
empty spaces. Either a vacuum exists or there is no motion. Motion 
being change of place, there must be a place in order that place may 
be changed. From this there is no escape. Whether it is thus with 
"the thing in itself" of Kant, I know not; but what I do know is, 
chat one puts himself under an illusion if he thinks he can comprehend 
motion without a vacuum ; a motionless movement, if I may be 
allowed the expression, there may be — but that does not help ; a 
transmission of motion, no. 

But that is a question that is independent of the mystic action at a 
distance. Vacuum may exist, and action at a distance across vacuum 
may not exist. 

Mathematicians have often puzzled their brains calculating the 
actions and re-actions that must take place between two material 
points separated by vacant space. It is labor lost. Between two 
material points separated by vacant space there is neither action nor 
re-action. Universal attraction as an occult property of bodies is a 
senseless idea, infinitely more difficult to comprehend than the trans- 
mission of thought. It is not I who say this : it is Newton. The 

1 Dr. P. Despine, fils, "Etude Scientifique sur le Somnambulisme," pp. 222-229. 
Paris, 1880. 


theory of Newton has been brutalized, idiotized, as that of Mesmer 
has been, by men who could not understand the necessity of subtile 
ideas for subtile causes. Newton himself — and here Mr. Despine is 
perfectly right in quoting him — rejected action at a distance : "That 
brute matter (or matter of any sort) should, without the intermediary 
of any other thing that is not material, be able to act, to operate 
upon other matter without mutual contact, is incomprehensible. That 
gravitation should be inherent, essential to matter, so that a body may 
act upon another body at a distance in space, without the intermediary 
of something whereby their activity " — in other words, their motion — 
" may be transmitted from the one to the other, seems to me so great 
an absurdity, that no man, I believe, who is competent to think 
of philosophic matters, can ever fall into it." ' 

And yet that is the opinion of the majority of scientific men nowa- 
days. But let us go back to Despine's analysis : 

" The researches of modern physicists confirm Newton's view in so 
far as they prove that there is no vacuum [again the same confusion]; 
that space is full of a matter that is eminently subtile, called ether, 
whose attributes are not only transmission of electricity, and trans- 
mission of terrestrial magnetism, but also transmission of light and 
heat. [A matter eminently subtile means a matter eminently rarefied, 
and if a thing is rarefied that means that there is vacuum between 
its particles.] The vast interstellar spaces then are not regions of 
vacuum and of isolation. We find them filled with this medium which 
extends everywhere, so that when a molecule of hydrogen vibrates in 
Sirius, the medium receives therefrom an impression ; but so great is 
the distance of that star that this impulsion takes three years to reach 
the earth. And yet that distance in no wise alters the vibrations 
transmitted." [That is another question. No one has been in Sirius 
to compare them.] 

Mr. Despine then quotes from Herbert Spe.ncer a passage of which 
I will repeat a part : 

" The discovery that matter, apparently so simple, is, in its inmost 
structure, astoundingly complex ; and that other, that its molecules, 
oscillating with almost infinite rapidity, propagate their impulsion to 
the surrounding ether, which transmits them to inconceivable dis- 
tances in times infinitely small, lead us to this still more wonderful 
discovery, that molecules of each kind are affected in a special way by 
molecules of the same kind that exist in the remotest regions of space." 
That is Mesmer's idea. 

1 Our author does not locate the passage in Newton's works, and the above is but 
a version of the French version. — Translator. 

2 Diligent search has failed to discover the original of this passage in H. Spencer's 
" First Principles ;" the translator must therefore content himself with a version of 
the French translation of it. 


Mr. Despine quotes also Mr. Bertrand, of the French Academy, with 
regard to the existence of ether and its action upon the phenomena of 
light, electricity, etc. Then he adds : 

"Why should it not be of equal importance in organic nature? 
May we not reasonably suppose that that which in this universal 
medium is the principle of light, electricity and heat, may also, when 
united with nerve-matter, be the principle of life in animals possess- 
ing a nervous system, and consequently the principle of activity of 
that system and of its various functions? When we reflect that this 
system is not absolutely necessary to life, inasmuch as plants and the 
lowest animals are without it ; when we reflect that light, heat and 
electricity, that is, the principal manifestations of the ether, are nec- 
essary to life, seeing that wherever they are insufficient vegetal life 
and animal life are impossible, and that life is all the more active the 
more potent these manifestations are ; when we reflect upon all this, 
have we not a right to conclude that the principle of life in organized 
bodies really consists in these three manifestations of the ether, and 
that the nervous system is needed only to regulate [pre'sider a\ the 
specialty of each function as the ether puts the same in action ? This 
hypothesis seems to us so reasonable that we take the liberty of sub- 
mitting it for the judgment of the learned." ' 

I do not well see, I confess, the advantage of this transfer to the 
ether of the principle of nervic and of general organic activity ; I do 
not think it is made thereby more comprehensible. So many things 
are saddled upon that long-suffering intermediary ! Mr. Despine 
attributes to the ether light, heat, electricity, terrestrial magnetism, 
gravitation, molecular attraction, chemical affinity, the functions of 
organic life and those of automatism, finally, the functions of the 
brain. There remains little, I think, to dispose of. Yes, there is 
Providence; but that has been attended to. Spiller 2 attributes to 
the ether not only all these things, but Godhead too. " The Ether is 
God," says Spiller. I see no difficulty in going so far, but why halt 
there? Let us call light the Son and electricity the Holy Ghost, 
and everything will be explained. The only thing to be accounted 
for then win be how the Ether formed organisms and watches over 
the human race. 

Let us return to mental suggestion. 

"From these data," continues Mr. Despine, "we see how brain 
activity, which governs psychic manifestations, may, under certain 
conditions of impressionableness [what are they? a theory of trans- 
mission ought to define them], be echoed in an effective way in the 
brain of another individual by means of the ether, may therein de- 
termine an activity of the same kind, and therein call out similar 

1 " Etude Scientifique sur le Somnambulisme," p. 285. 

2 " Gott im Lichte der Naturwissensdiaften." 


instinctive elements, thoughts, mental representations and volitions. 
Every psychic act, unquestionably, has for cause a cerebral modifica- 
tion of vibrations, a special mode of activity in the gray-matter cells 
of the brain. True, these vibrations are not capable of impressing, 
by the intermediation of the ether, similar vibrations on neighboring 
sound [?] brains. Yet, however faint these vibrations, they neverthe- 
less are propagated outwards, though they hit [frappent] those brains 
without effect. But suppose that among these brains there is one 
that is in such a state of impressionableness as to be influenced by 
the ether-vibrations produced by the activity of a sound brain, and 
suppose that these vibrations produce in this impressionable brain 
identical vibrations, then the activity of this organ will certainly give 
rise to similar thoughts. Thus is explained naturally thought-trans- 
mission and transmission of will from one individual to another, with- 
out external signs. If this action is rare, that is not because of the 
mode of action of the ether fluid nor of the laws governing that mode 
of action — two things that do not change ; it is because of the special 
state in which the nervous system may be influenced by this faint 
action — a state consisting particularly in an extreme sensibility of that 
system, and which is abnormal, pathological [?], and, fortunately, 
rare. The action of the agent is always the same ; the thing that 
varies and that makes the phenomenon rare is the state of the nerve- 
organs that receive the action of the agent." 

True, but rather vague. 

" By this cause of transmission from a distance — a transmission that 
is undoubted, and which has to be held in reserve simply because it 
has not yet found popular acceptance — is explained not only the 
transmission of thought in somnambules, but also the fact that per- 
sons whose nervic constitution is vigorous, whose cerebral activity is 
energetic, and whose will is strong, are better magnetizers than per- 
sons of feeble constitution. So, too, we explain nervic contagion, 
which Bouchut ' believed to be a fact — a contagion that under certain 

1 Here is a significant passage from this eminent observer : ' ' One might say that 
in certain cases, notably with regard to convulsive neuroses, there exists a direct 
physical action of the patient upon the man in health, by a nervic emanation the in- 
fluence of which produces at a distance the convulsive state, for it is difficult always to 
explain the fact .by imitation, as imitation is commonly understood. However that 
may be, contrariwise to what we see in other modes of contagion which we think we 
understand, attributing them to miasmata, cholera for example, .we know nothing of 
the cause of epidemic neuroses, as chorea or hysteria ; we know no more about their 
contagional principle, if so be that there is one, than we do about the vehicle in which 
it is conveyed. It is easy to frame hypotheses about it, but impossible to demonstrate 
the nature of the contagion principle. . . . The action of this nervic contagion 
is exceedingly powerful and almost without bounds. It acts upon men and upon 
animals, at every period of life, but particularly in youth, and 'its influence is greater 
on woman than on man. It shares at once the properties of contagion, in that there 


conditions propagates afar the phenomena somatic and psychic that 
characterize the different epidemic insanities ; so we explain moral 
contagion, as also the ascendant that strong minds exercise over 
weak." [But if they "hit without effect" sound brains, how can the 
vibrations of the ether transmit all this?] "So we explain why the 
processes of magnetization — passes made whether in contact or at a 
distance — are able to produce the different phenomena called mag- 
netic. So we explain why it is that the organs that have been 
rendered highly impressionable by disease, and the organs best sup- 
plied with ganglia and nerves, as the head, epigastrium, neck, arms, 
finger-tips, are the parts most readily impressed by passes " [but then 
it is the number of nerve fibers that explains all this, not the ether 
theory]. " Finally, so we explain the very remarkable action of certain 
individuals' will upon other individuals, without any outward sign — 
an effect that we see exhibited very strikingly in the case of Castellan, 
condemned at the assizes of Draguignan " (227). 

A little farther on the author gives as the cause of this special 
impressionableness of mentally-suggestionable subjects, " neuropathic 
and hysteric affections and anaemia." 

It is usual for hypnotizers to confound these conditions with hyp- 
notic sensibility, which is a primordial character independent of all 
disease. A person may be eminently sensitive and yet entirely 
healthy. Only it is easier for a hypnotizable person to become hys- 
terical than for another person ; or at least in the case of the former 
the hysteria assumes the convulsional character of the major hysteria. 
Neuropathies generally have no greater sensibility than healthy 
persons. Among the patients under the care of Dr. Aug. Voisin at 
the Salpetriere, Paris, we found but 28 per cent, sensitive : among 
persons in health the proportion is 30 per cent. As for anaemia 
(another error propagated by Prof. Heidenhain ! ) it is rather an un- 
favorable condition : at all events, an anaemic brain is not necessarily 
more impressionable than an hyperaemic one ; I am inclined to hold 

that it is less. 

Mr. Despine closes with the following reflection : " If neither 

nervic fluid-nor magnetic fluid intervenes in the phenomena of animal 

is apparently a contagional agent, and of imitation by reason of its moral and mental 
character." (Bouchut, " De la Contagion Nerveuse," etc., p. 14. 1862.) 

I quote the above passage from J. Rambossom's " Phenomenes Nerveux, Intel- 
lectuels, et Moraux, leur Transmission par Contagion," pp. 200, 201. Paris, 1883. 
This author does not speak of mental suggestion, but he formulates a law of the 
transmission of expressive motion {inouvement exp7-essif) in the following terms : "A 
cerebral or psychic motion may, in traversing different media, became purely physio- 
logical, then physical, once more physiological, and finally cerebral or psychic, with- 
out changing its nature, i. e , while still retaining the power of reproducing all the 
phenomena that are appurtenant to it " (p. 187). This law may be regarded as the 
generalized formula of psycho-physical theories. See the next chapter. 


magnetism so-called, as the old theory had it, the universal fluid does 
positively intervene, if not as the direct cause of the phenomena, 
then at least as the agent for transmitting the mode of activity of 
one person's nervous system to the nervous system of another 

In short, between the theory of Mr. Despine and that of Mesmer, 
which he knows not, there are only a few differenced of detail, to the 
advantage of the latter if I am not mistaken. 

Mesmer held, like Spencer, that the particles of a given matter are 
affected principally by particles having like motions, and, guided by 
this thought, he conceived a series of motions of progressive sub- 
tility, and a series of states of matter of progressive rarefaction — 
solid, liquid, gaseous, etheric, more subtile still, the state of the uni- 
versal fluid or primordial matter, and that too, presents degrees, but 
to us they are unknown. In short, he made a division of Nature's 
work, and distinguished the universal fluid, which he regarded as the 
medium of life-vibrations, from the ether, to which he assigned 
mainly the light-vibrations. In sooth we know nothing about this 
whole organization, but as the matter is entirely under our own con- 
trol, we can allow ourselves the luxury of several series ; that is at 
least fairer than to lay the whole burden upon the back of one fluid. 
Then, I believe that there are in nature no absolute limits, and I 
prefer Mesmer's graduation to the fluid, doubtless imponderable, of 
Mr. Despine, that is to say, of the majority of modern physicists. 
That fluid, which is but an absolute negation of " ponderable " mat- 
ter, constitutes a species of matter absolutely the reverse of every- 
thing we know of ordinary matter, and, let us say it frankly, incon- 
sistent with common sense. The particles of ordinary matter attract 
one another, those of the ether repel, and so on. It is a tissue of 
phantasy. The ether is an imponderable fluid. But if " fluid " means 
anything, then " imponderable fluid " is nons_ense. A fluid, that is, 
something that can flow, must be impelled by something, and conse- 
quently must weigh upon something. Again, the molecules of the 
ether, we are told, are attracted by ordinary matter, and when one 
body is attracted by another body, it weighs upon it. Then, the 
ether cannot fill all space, precisely because it is rarefied. Finally, if 
this is to explain for us attraction and ponderability, it cannot itself 
be either ponderable or imponderable, since it is only by a relation 
between it and ordinary matter that these qualities are manifested. 

In a word, I understand the necessity of a gas more rarefied than 
the gases we now know, i. e., more rarefied than hydrogen (there 
are perhaps many such, for all I know); but I do not understand a 
matter that is not matter, a rarefied body that does away with vacu- 
um, a deus ex machina explaining everything, himself incomprehen- 
sible. I prefer my ignorance to such science. And I beg the mathe- 


maticians not to imagine that they can discover anything outside of 
the relations founded on experience. A psychologist can understand 
this. He can value as highly as you please the four, five, or n dimen- 
sions shown him by means of abstract symbols, but he confesses 
frankly that three dimensions he can indeed imagine for himself, but 
no more. Were Zollner still alive, he, no doubt, would explain 
thought-transmission by saying that it takes place across the fourth 
dimension, and we should have one theory additional. 

In the lack of that, it only remains -that we mention one theory 
more, and that simply in order to make a transition from the fore- 
going hypothesis to our own. This transition we find in Puys^gur's 



THE sympathetic wizard {sorrier) of Busancy, who was so deeply 
interested in mental suggestion, is worthy of mention here. He 
was a soldier, 1 and disposed to cut the knot of a problem. The series 
of Mesmer's universal fluid had some difficulty in effecting a lodgment 
in Puysegur's cranium, but he was a marquis all too courteous to bear 
a grudge against his master on that score. Rather does he charge 
himself with incapacity for metaphysics, and confess that, after 
having for two months attended Dr. Mesmer's theoretic course, he 
knew about as much of magnetism as before (p. 30). But theory 
mattered little to him. " Increase the number of experiments," says 
he, " and you will come upon a theory ; else you will lose your time. 
Had we been obliged, in order to recognize the well-known phenomena 
of electricity, of the magnet, and of galvanism, to wait till we should 
agree as to their causes, there is reason to believe that we should 
to-day have neither lightning-rods, nor compass, nor Voltaic pile. Is 
there an electric fluid, a magnetic fluid, a galvanic fluid ? " (p. 26.) 
He does not know whether there is or not ; but what he does know is, 
that in order to act upon Victor or Magdeleine he did not need to 
have any knowledge of poles, or even to believe in the existence of a 
fluid. " So I took care to choose rather a certitude gained through 

' Puysegur was marechal de camp of the royal artillery corps. The quotations that 
follow are from the work published in 1807, entitled " Du Magnetisme Animal Con- 
sidere dans ses Rapports avec diverses* Branches de la Physique Generate. " 


experience than the hypothetic probability of a magnetic fluid, the 
existence of which no physicist has ever been able to verify" (p. 35). 

Then he passes in review the phenomena of heat, of fire, of the 
electric machine, of light, of the Voltaic pile and of galvanism, of the 
magnet, and of the sorciers, 1 and by a series of comparisons and 
reflections of the utmost lucidity, comes to the conclusion — quite 
opposed to the dominant ideas of his time — that heat is but the effect, 
perceptible to the senses, of the transmission of a motion (p. 37) ; and that, 
consequently, " caloric has no existence " (p. 38) ; that the cause of 
the magnetic properties of the loadstone results solely from a " tonic 
inner motion {tnouvement tonique et intestin) in the iron, of a kind 
much like that recognized as existing in the Voltaic pile" (p. 71). 
Ampere's theory ! Finally, that it is all "transmission of motion." 

Puysegur is incomparable in his deductions from an experiment in 
thought transference compared to an experiment with an electrostatic 
machine. He poses two problems : To light at a distance a bit of 
amadou by the aid of the electric spark ; and to act mentally from a 
distance upon his brother, who is at Versailles. " I performed an 
action, that of turning the crank of the machine, I not stirring from 
where I stood ; the action of necessity had its indispensable result, 
which is, to communicate motion ; from this I concluded that no bit 
of amadou in the world can be set on fire save by the transmission of a 
communicated motion'" (p. 46). " My brother is four leagues away, at 
Versailles. Let us see how I may transmit motion to him. Nothing 
can be simpler. I recall his image and I think of him. ' Mysticism 
and witchcraft ? ' By no means : it is the sanest kind of physics. Is 
not every human act preceded by the volition to execute it ? Is not 
the volition itself preceded by the thought that it can be carried out ? 
That thought then is the motor ; hence it is as regards me what the 
glass plate is as regards the electric machine. ' And you think you 
can produce some effect upon your brother by the action of your 
mind ? ' Certainly not. He would in that case' be less sensible of the 
action of my mind than you, not being insulated, would be of the 
action of the revolving plate of an electric machine " (p. 53). 

So, then, one must be "insulated" in order to feel a transmission of 
motion otherwise imperceptible. Imagine a series of ivory balls sus- 
pended by threads and contiguous to one another. If I hit the first, 
the last that very instant leaps out. If I strike the end of a bar of 
steel with a hammer, it becomes magnetized. The particles cannot 
leap out, nevertheless they are put in motion ; this' " inner motion " 
{tnouvement intestin) is accelerated and regulated in some unknown 
way, and lo ! the bar is magnetized. In like manner, by producing an 

1 ProbaDly practicers of "Bletonism," named from Bleton, a Frenchman, who 
claimed to possess the faculty of perceiving subterranean waters by sensation. — 


inward shock of rny will {en effectuant un choc interieur de ma volonti), 
I transmit motion that may be reverberated by a being at a distance 

(PP. 33, 5 2 )- 

This, it is seen, is Mesmer's theory simplified and popularized, minus 

the universal fluid, which Puysegur cares little about, and minus the 

remarkable precision of the founder of magnetism. 

This theory was lately propounded by Dr. Perronet under the name 
of undulationism. He formulates it very briefly, thus : 

"Suggestion is a phenomenon whereby an individual transmits to 
one or to many other individuals his own thoughts, whether conscious 
or unconscious, by materializing them in the forms of the objects 
represented by them, and passing through this series of interme- 
diate phenomena : 

" 1. Nerve-undulations of central origin and centrifugal in direction, 
which undulations are produced by an unknown mechanism in the 
organs that serve as a ground for his psychic faculties ; 

"2. Undulations at the periphery of his body, fibrillary contrac- 
tions or other kinetic phenomena that are usually unconscious ; 

" 3. Undulations produced in the cosmic medium by the foregoing 
motions ; 

" 4. Shock to the nerve-extremities of the recipient individuals 
from these cosmic undulations, which produce in the psychic centers 
of those recipients the final undulatory phenomenon, translated by the 
real perception of the object signified by the thought." ' 

And now let us put all these theories aside and attend only to the 
facts. I will endeavor to make them intelligible as far as may be in 
the present stage of our researches. And you, gentle reader, keep an 
eye upon me, lest I broach some absurdity — a thing quite possible in 
so perplexed a question, and that happens oft to those who do not spare 

1 Claude Perronet, " Du Magnetisme Animal," pp. 60, 61. 1884. 




BE it observed at the outset : 
i. That the suggestion called mental is a highly complex phe- 
nomenon, which for that reason cannot be explained by one simple 
principle ; 

2. That even with regard to a determinate and isolated fact, the 
theory must necessarily be bifarious : psychological and physical ; 

3. That in all phenomena of this sort we must consider, on the one 
hand, the conditions pertaining to the operator, on the other the con- 
ditions pertaining to the subject. 

This stated, let us have an understanding as to the general purport 
of a scientific explanation. 

Explaining means nothing else but reducing the unknown to the 
known ; and there is but one way of doing that, to wit, by pointing 
out the conditions on which the phenomenon appears, and without which it 
cannot appear. That is all that one can do ; It is also all that is re- 
quired. We must not suffer ourselves to be under the illusion that 
adequate knowledge is attainable of anything. We ascertain the con- 
ditions of phenomena, we state these as well as may be in laws that 
are simply a generalization of our observations : that is all. That is 
the whole of science. 

If we would define the conditions of a phenomenon, we must first 
describe it, analyze it, so as to circumscribe its contents and assign it a 
suitable place among other phenomena. This we have endeavored to 
do by treating separately the different kinds of psycho-physical trans- 
mission. It follows that mental suggestion proper must be studied in 
connection with sundry phenomena of physical transmission, which, 
by approaching it step by step, elucidate it. Furthermore, as we 
have seen, very many phenomena that have been attributed to physi- 
cal or mental transmission, are only facts of apparent transmission. 

This apparent transmission may, according to the nature of the case, 
be explained : 

1. By a pre-established harmony between two associational mechan- 
isms mutually independent, but depending upon a. psychic medium; 

2. By a presumption 1 based on the ordinary sensations of sight, 
hearing, smell, and touch. 

These sensations, which betray our organic or our psychic state, 
can be perceived or even realized by the subject in proportion to : 

1 On the part of the subject. From the sense-impressions received by him in 
any way from the magnetizer or the bystanders, he infers the purport of the intended 
mental suggestion. — Translator. 


1. His unconscious experience, a faculty belonging to us all, and 
which tells especially when conscious reflection is in abeyance ; 

2. His ideorganic associations ; these may reveal the signification of 
influences more or less unnoticed in the normal state ; 

3. His ideoplasty, which realizes the thought suggested by uncon- 
scious* experience and by ideorganic associations ; 

4. His hypnotic and magnetic training, which facilitates the co- 
operation of all the foregoing agencies. 

It follows that apparent transmission will be favored : 

1 . By exaltation of the senses ; 

2. By exaltation of the intelligence ; 

3. By isolation of the senses and the intelligence, which allows the 
whole power of attention to be concentrated in one chosen direction. 

But this whole theory falls short when we have to explain the 
phenomena wherein the involuntary tokens furnished by the principle 
of the expressional exterior atio n of every state, psychic or organic, no 
longer come into play. Unless we are ready to extend sensorial 
perceptivity beyond all reasonable bounds, and to make it as incom- 
prehensible as the phenomenon of transmission itself, we must have 
recourse to another principle, which shall explain for us, not apparent 
transmission, but true transmission. 

True transmission means that the state a of brain A is reproduced 
by brain B, without the intermediation of signs, whether visual, 
auditive, olfactive, or tactual. 

Of course in practice these two kinds of transmission must com- 
monly be confounded, and only in experiments made expressly for 
the purpose and at a certain distance can we be sure that true trans- 
mission alone is in play. 

Though thought is purely a phenomenon of the brain, in the sense 
that it cannot be produced by any other organ, still it is never restricted 
to the brain alone as regards the manifestations that accompany it. 
There is no thought without expression ; we might even say with Sietsh- 
enof that there is no thought without muscular contraction ; but I 
prefer the first formula, which is the more general one, inasmuch as 
it includes also the secretions, the emanations, the direct production of 
heat and electricity. One may stand absolutely motionless and think 
of all manner of things, yet on analyzing our attitude attentively 
we find : 

1. That if we are reflecting with any degree of intensity, there is 
always an inchoation of speech ; the larynx, the tongue, even the 
maxilla executes slight movements ;' 

2. That if our thinking presents a visual rather than an auditive 
character, then the eye, though shut, follows the movements of the 

1 I called attention to this fact in my work on Method, " Methode des Recherches 
Psychologiques," 1869. 



imaginary objects and the pupil is dilated or contracted according to 
the brightness or the remoteness of those objects ; 

3. That the respiration is governed, accelerated or slowed, accord- 
ing to the course of our thoughts ; ' 

4. That in the muscles of the members there is always an internal 
contraction answering to the unexecuted movements we think about, 
or appropriate to the sense-images in our mind ; 

5. That all emotive states are accompanied by a corresponding 
change in the circulation ; 

6. That a concentration of the will is reflected in a corresponding 
contraction of the diaphragm ; 

7. That all these phenomena must determine a modification in 
the functions of the vegetative life, in the exchange of matter, and 
consequently in the production of the various secretions and emana- 
tions ; 

8. That all psychic work determines a production of heat, and that 
probably there is a direct transformation of psychic work into radiant 

The effect of these actions cannot be restricted to the surface of 
our body, and, consequently, even at a certain distance, these changes 
may imperceptibly influence the senses of some other organism and 
make themselves felt, more or less distinctly, by an exceptionally 
impressionable organism. 

By having regard to but one class of sensations one may reach 
partial, incomplete explanations. One might, for instance, say : 

1. That the subject reads the operator's thought in the visual pa- 
thognomic signs, and that therefore the theory of mental suggestion 
resolves itself into a theory of an exalted visual sense ; 

2. That as thought is habitually expressed in speech, and as the 
subject may present an extraordinary hyperacusia (be it said in pa- 
renthesis that this hyperacusia never extends more than some yards' 
distance for words really pronounced), we may regard mental sugges- 
tion as an exalted audition of the inward speech and of the respiration- 
sounds ; 

3. That inasmuch as it has been proved that emotions are accom- 
panied by a modification of the cutaneous odor, we may magnify the 
value of these indicia and hold that every thought that is in any 
degree concentrated and persistent, especially the thought of ap- 
proval or of negation (and perception of these two thoughts may 
greatly assist a subject who seeks to execute an order given him), 
that each such thought is characterized by a perceptible olfactive 
modification ; 

4. That the heat given out because of a mental effort, as modified 
by the approach of the operator's body and by his gestures (air- 

1 See my work " Bedingungen des Bewusstwerdens." Leipsic, 1874. 


currents), may guide the subject, may, in particular, enable him to 
perceive the inception and the direction of the action, and may thus 
account, upon grounds purely of caloric action, for influences said to 
be mental ; 

5. That in experiments with direct contact all the expressive vibra- 
tions and tensions of the muscles may serve as unmistakable pointers 
to an interpretation of our thoughts : this would be a mechanical 
theory of suggestion ; 

6. That as the phenomenon of reflex attraction, based on an exalted 
cutaneous sensibility, can be developed very highly so that the sub- 
ject shall be attracted by gestures that are hardly made at all, one 
might adopt a purely attractional theory of suggestion, and say that 
all the movements mentally ordered are executed because of a reflex 
physical attraction j 

7. That the phenomenon of the imitation of movements being a 
common one and capable of being largely developed, we may suppose 
that if, even with the eyes closed, the subject can repeat the move- 
ments of the operator, the same phenomenon, in a slightly higher 
degree, might be presented with regard even to incomplete move- 
ments ; that would be a purely mutational theory. 

All these considerations taken separately, or even taken together, 
can apply only to a certain number of facts ; but we have to bear them 
in mind wherever, according to the case emergent, any one or more 
of the principles stated can fairly be appealed to. 

A few controlled experiments alone can decide whether or not they 
apply in any given case. 

In general, as regards experiments made from anear, it appears 
certain that there is a graduation of the facility with which they may 
be performed. The scale is about as follows : 

1. Experiments made with contact, gestures, and looks; 

2. Experiments made with gestures and looks; 

3. Experiments made without gestures, with looks ; 

4. Experiments made without contact, gestures, or looks. 
Starting from this last degree, the influence, up to an unknown 

limit, no longer decreases with the distance. If action can be exerted 
from the farther end of a room unbeknown to the subject, it can be exerted 
equally well from another room, from another house, and so forth. 

The fact that a small distance often makes a noticeable difference, 
and that a great distance makes no perceptible difference, proves : 

1. That in certain cases contact, gestures, and looks have their share 
in the action ; 

2. That neither this action of theirs nor the action of olfactive sen- 
sations suffices to explain certain other cases. 

Furthermore, contact is very often indifferent, gestures useless, and 
looks exert no distinct action ; therefore, if f hese agents have any 


action at a distance, it must be a subjective one : to wit, it simply 
helps the operator to concentrate his thought. 

On the side of the operator the conditions have been very little 
studied. But it is probable : 

i. That there are personal differences ; 

2. That these differences may be due not only to the degree of 
thought-intensity, but also to the nature of the thought itself, accord- 
ing as it is visual, or auditive, or motorial ; 

3. That some account has to be taken of a sort of accord, of con- 
cordance between the natures of the two intelligences ; 

4. That excessive will-effort impairs the definiteness of the trans- 
mission, without much enhancing its intensity ; 

5. That strong, persistent, prolonged thinking, or a thought repeated 
for a longer or shorter time, constitutes a condition in the highest 
degree favorable ; 

6. That any distraction that causes the thought to disappear for a 
moment, or that makes it cease to be isolated, seems eminently 
unfavorable to the mental action ; 

7. That, nevertheless, thoughts that are not intense, and even 
thoughts that are at the moment unconscious, may be transmitted 
involuntarily ; 

8. That the muscular efforts that always accompany an exertion of 
will are more or less indifferent ; but that the muscle-expression of 
the operator may be useful, subjectively, by reason of the habitude 
that connects thought with these expressional signs. 

It follows from these considerations that the operator should insist 
less upon the " I will it " than upon the content of that willing ; and 
hence it is probable that, properly speaking, it is not the strong will 
that helps suggestion so much as the clear thinking. 

As regards the subject, to find the bearings in this- question we may 
consider one after another the four principal states : 

1. In the state of profound aideia, transmission is never immediate, 
but it may sometimes be latent ; 

2. In the state of nascent monoideism, it may be immediate and 
perfect ; 

3. In the state of passive polyideism, it may be either mediate l or 
immediate, but always weaker ; 

4. In the state of active polyideism, the conditions are complex, and 
they must be considered separately : 

a. Transmission may be direct if the subject helps by voluntary 
self-absorption in a concentration of mind mo/e or less monoideic : 

1 Mediate — with a lapse of time intervening between the mental action and the 
action of the subject. — Translator. 


he lends himself to the action, he listens mentally, he seeks, sometimes 
he finds. 

/;. It may be indirect, that is, latent, this time also with some con- 
currence on the part of the subject ; this case seems more frequent. 

c. Finally, it may, in exceptional instances, be either mediate or 
immediate, even without the subject's being advised beforehand of 
the action. Here we touch the question of mental action upon a sub- 
ject in the waking state, and that calls for some explanations. The 
somnambulic state of active polyideia differs from the waking state 
only by two characters, of which one is absolute, the other relative : 

1. The absolute, i. c, the constant, necessary difference is quantita- 
tive only: waking is a state mdre polyideic than somnambulism. In the 
latter there is always a narrowing of the psychic field. In the waking 
state, despite the apparent monoideism which has deceived many 
psychologists (Bain, Wundt, Morell, Horwicz, et a/.), our thought is 
always very complex ; we have simultaneously a multitude of con- 
tending sensations, and a multitude of recollections that are ever 
striving to free themselves from the pressure of the dominant ideas 
(Herbart). In somnambulism their number is much smaller ; most of 
the usual sensations are wanting (anaesthesia) ; most of our recollec- 
tions are paralyzed ; but what may lead one astray, and what (despite 
the general narrowing of the psychic field) constitutes a peculiar 
character of this state is, that the sensations and recollections belong- 
ing to a given idea may be more numerous in somnambulism than in 
the waking state ; the perception is more detailed, though only with 
regard to one idea, and the associational reproduction more complete, 
though always strictly in one direction. Hence it follows that the 
somnambulic state of polyideia is more favorable to mental sugges- 
tion, if the subject is fore-advised of the action j but if he is not, then the 
waking state will have the preference. It is easier to influence 
unbeknownst a waking subject than one -clearly in the state of active 
somnambulism. In the latter case the subject is more absorbed and 
hence less accessible. The normal state is in general less sensitive be- 
cause of the resistance of a multitude of thoughts that are struggling 
for life, but i't is less concentrated, more elastic, more diversified, and 
hence more accessible. • What I meant to express when I said " more 
elastic," is, that in the normal state our thoughts launch out more 
freely right and left, without losing the clue that guides them ; but I 
used the term chiefly because of this peculiarity — one that is of inter- 
est for us on other accounts — that in fact the normal state is not a 
state out and out polyideic ; it is rather a fluctuating [mobile) aggre- 
gate of all possible states, with preponderance of polyideia. There 
are unquestionably moments of monoideism in its every grade, and 
even intervals strictly monoideic. Only, all these phases are com- 
mingled, following one another with inconceivable rapidity. But 


that is what makes this state amenable to faint influences, particu- 
larly in hypnotizable subjects, whose minds are generally character- 
ized by a constant tendency to monoideism. 

2. The second difference between the somnambulic state and the 
normal is only a relative one, but it is of still greater importance for 
the matter in hand. It is a relative one in that it does not exist in the 
hyptiotized : a hypnotized subject is not in rapport with any one. It is 
relative also from another point of view, in that, though in magnetic 
somnambulism there is isolation of the subject, the isolation differs 
only in degree from that of a normal state in which suggestion can 
succeed. In fact it never does succeed — at least immediate suggestion 
does not — in a normal state in which there is no trace of rapport. This 
rapport must be established, either by repeated magnetizations, by a 
tie of blood, of sympathy, of daily association, or by some exceptional 
influence of the moment. 

This detail brings us to the very heart of the subject. Rapport 
being a conditio sine qua non of distinct mind action, let us strive to 
define what it is. 

As we have already observed in the opening of this study, and then 
in remarking upon Despine's experiments, the nature of this phenome- 
non is essentially two-fold — psychic and physical. We already know 
the psychic elements, which are the predominant ones in regard of the 
frequency of their plain manifestation, but we have now to analyze 
the physical cause of the phenomena of rapport. 

"There's the rub!" Are we justified in asserting that "animal 
magnetism " has a physical cause ? 

Observe in passing that, considering the general aspect of the phe- 
nomena hitherto lumped together under the one denomination of 
" hypnotic " phenomena, this cause is not necessary save for certain 
classes of facts ; the rest can do without it. But that does not remove 
the difficulty : it remains, though in shadow. And what shocks the 
" regulars " is, that this physical action " upsets every notion of phy- 

" I never could understand, " says Mr. Brown-Sequard, " how an 
intelligent man, acquainted with the ground principles of physiology, 
can believe in such transmission (a transmission of nerve-force from 
one individual to another), seeing that the student who has learned 
ever so little knows how vain, after a motor nerve has been severed, 
is the effort, the wish, the will to move the paralyzed part " l 

I should not like to pass for the most uninstructed student, still less 
should I care to set up as teacher of my honored master, to whom I 
am indebted for more than one excellent idea, but — amicus Plato, magis 
arnica Veritas — I venture to say that even I see how the paralyzed part 
might be moved. 

' Preface to Simon's French translation of Braid's " Neurypnology." 


The will, says Mr. Brown-Sequard, cannot reach a muscle the motor 
nerve of which is severed, whereas it seems to him quite natural that 
it should be able to reach a muscle whose motor nerve is not severed. 
Now to me that does not seem natural at all. I agree that it cannot 
reach a muscle whose motor nerve is severed, but at the same time I 
do not believe that it can reach a muscle whose motor nerve remains 
intact. The will is a cerebral phenomenon, that never has been found 
{constati} outside of the brain, and that cannot outstep the brain. It 
is not even transmitted to the motor nerve that issues from the brain 
and terminates in a muscle. So, too, the mechanical motion of a muscle 
is not transmitted to the sensor nerve to reach the brain, but it may, it 
necessarily must, give rise to a molecular current ; that current is trans- 
mitted to the brain, and therein calls out another dynamic phenomenon 
the nature of which is unknown, but which we distinguish quite clearly 
as sensation or idea. It is the same with the will. To reach a muscle, 
the will absolutely requires a molecular intermediary which shall 
traverse the nerve, and it is entirely true that this intermediary cannot 
leap over where the nerve is cut in two. Neither can a telephonic 
current, though less capricious, overleap a break in a wire : the tele- 
phone will be dumb. And were we to stand still at this experiment we 
should be fully justified in saying of the telephone what Mr. Brown- 
Sequard says of the muscle. 

Fortunately, our science does not stand still there. Mr. Brown- 
Sequard, in proclaiming two indisputable truths, makes two mistakes. 
The two truths are these : 

1. Nerve-force cannot traverse a severed nerve ; 

2. Nerve-iorce cannot pass into another nervous system. 
Very true ; nor do I believe in any passage of any nerve-fluid. 

But does that mean that nerve-force, or any force whatsoever, acts 
only where it is, and that its action is absolutely restricted within the 
body in which it manifests itself visibly ? 

Here the error begins. It is twofold, for — 

1. Such force, thus absolutely limited to any material point what- 
ever, does not exist ; 

2. If it did exist, the most fundamental principles of physiology, 
among them Mr. Brown-Sequard's principles of inhibition and of 
dynamogeny, would be upset. 

The normal action of a telephone ceases when the wire is broken. 
It is equally null for us when, though the wire is not broken, the 
circuit contains only one telephone. Is it possible to transmit speech 
with one telephone ? No ; and yet the telephone works. The whole 
length of the wire is traversed by a current which is not speech itself, 
but which is its correlative, though it is dumb. 

Take another telephone having also a closed circuit, and, like the 
first, dumb. Bring it near the other, or only near the wire of the 


first telephone, or even simply bring the wire of the first near the wire 
of the second, and the latter will talk, will reproduce speech, though 
there is no material contact between the two. It will talk by induction. 
It is this transmission, not that which takes place between muscle and 
brain, that corresponds to mental transmission. My brain does not act 
upon the muscles of the subject, but it may act upon his brain. If instead 
of a second telephone we were to place alongside of the first telephone 
a different sort of instrument, an electroscope, for example, there 
would be no result ; but we must not by any means infer that therefore 
there is no electric action all around the telephone, for in order to get 
a specific action we must employ a specific instrument, a telephone 
for a telephone, a brain for a brain. 

I do not at all mean to strain the analogy; comparison is not proof ; 
and were there not other evidences of inductive physical action this 
would be of no avail. But the case is not so. Apart from all theory, 
facts compel us to admit a physical action : we should have to admit 
it even were there no other analogous phenomenon. 

Here are the facts in brief. Of course I cannot here prove their 
reality, but shall merely mention them, believe them who will : 

i. Sometimes the magnetized subject discerns the presence of his 
magnetizer independently of the ordinary sensations. His touch he 
distinguishes from that of others — distinguishes it even though it be 
applied by means of an inert body (a rod, for instance), which of itself 
cannot influence him differently. If, therefore, the subject distin- 
guishes his magnetizer's touch as well through a rod as directly, it 
must be that there exists a molecular current of some sort peculiar to 
the organism of the magnetizer, and which indicates his presence in 
much the same way that a galvanic current, through the intermedia- 
tion of a wire in contact with us, indicates the presence of a pile. 
The objection that most subjects feel nothing of this action is of no 
weight, for so, too, with a current from a we'ak galvanic element we 
shall feel nothing, while the magnetic needle will clearly prove its 
presence, and with a current weaker still, from a telephone or from a 
frog, the magnetic needle will show no result whatever : an excep- 
tionally sensitive galvanometer would be necessary in such a case. 
Suppose that 40 years "ago, when Mr. Du Bois-Reymond published his 
discoveries in electricity, some one had challenged his assertions, 
saying that no galvanometer had shown the presence of the currents 
he declared to exist : the assertion would have been true, but never- 
theless unjust, for at that time Du Bois-Reymond alone possessed a 
multiplier capable of showing their presence. 

2. We can obtain marked results of a therapeutic kind by acting 
without contact and unbeknown to the patients operated upon, 
sleeping children, for example. Hence, there is an inductive action 
that overpasses the superficies of the body. 


3. We find marked differences in the so-called magnetic action of 
different persons — differences not to be explained by moral action. 
One hand acts differently from another hand. Hence, there is a 
physical action, and a personal physical action. 

4. Finally, inasmuch as facts compel us to accept action from afar, 
we must needs admit real ' action from anear. 

Though we cannot define with precision the nature of this action, 
we can nevertheless affirm that : 

1. Every living being is a dynamic focus ; 

2. A dynamic focus tends ever to propagate the motion that is 
proper to it ; 

3. Propagated motion becomes transformed according to the me- 
dium it traverses. 

Let us enter a little into details. 

Whether forces, as such, exist in nature, I know not ; a fortiori I 
do not know whether they exist outside of nature ; what I do know 
is, that so far as it is knowable, force is nothing but motion. We 
say "motion," when we see motion; we say "force," when the mo- 
tion is invisible. A sleeping animal possesses the " force " to rise, for 
there exists in it 1 latent, hidden molecular motion that may be 
transformed into visible mechanical motion. When the animal is 
dead it possesses this force no longer, for the inner molecular motion 
constituting the biological exchange of matter is no more. Hence, 
we may regard this force as molecular motion. 

Motion tends always to propagate itself. 

Why does it seem sometimes to disappear? Can it annul itself? 
No ; as motion is not self-produced, so it is not self-destroyed. 
Therefore, when we see work of any kind — mechanical, electrical, 
nervic or psychic — disappear without visible effect, then of two things 
one, either 

1. A transmission ; or 

2. A transformation. 

In a medium that opposed no resistance, a motion would be trans- 
mitted indefinitely. Imagine a universe consisting of a medium 
motionless, but capable of being set in motion, and presenting no 
resistance, and to set that whole universe in motion, we should 
need only to give an impulse to one single atom. And were that 
atom alone, it would move on for all eternity. It would proceed 
in a right line, according to the old law of mechanics, but in an 
infinite circle according to the new — and that is the beginning of the 
scientific farces. 2 Suffice it to say that there would then be no reason 
why the motion should cease. 

But the universe is not like that ; there is resistance. What is 

' Re'elle, physical, opposed to moral, in par. 3. — Translator. 
2 C'est ici que commencent les farces scientifiques. 


the meaning of this resistance ? To explain it we have done as 
savages do — have endowed matter with the qualities that belong 
to ourselves. After having " objectivated " a subjective muscular 
feeling in the notion of " force," we proceeded to do the same 
for that which " opposes " force, giving to matter our own " inertia," 
our own indolence. Inertia has no existence any more than force, 
any more than absolute rest. But what does surely exist is motion, 
which opposes another motion, if it is not of the same nature. 

What happens then ? The initial motion is transformed. 

Such is the great principle of the universe ; not merely " trans- 
mission," as Puysegur held, but transformation. 

Where does the first end and where does the second begin ? Phys- 
ical philosophy gives us a very clear idea with regard to that point : 

a. In an identical medium there is only transmission ; 

b. In a different medium there is transformation. 

A dynamic nucleus, in propagating its motion, sends it out in every 
direction ; but this transmission becomes perceptible only on the lines 
of least resistance. Hence we say that magnetism chooses iron ; that 
heat, like sound, chooses good conductors ; that a galvanic current 
gives the preference to a thick wire among many fine wires, as 
lightning chooses the line of its route, as a light-impression chooses 
the nerve that suits it, as the will chooses the fiber that serves its 
purpose ; and so on. 

But in reality nothing chooses anything. We it is that do this 
choosing, subjectively, owing to our inability to see invisible things. 
The pressure exerted by a liquid confined .in a vessel is the same 
when its wall is intact as when a hole is pierced in it. But the liquid 
does not escape save when the wall is pierced, and then the other 
pressure concerns us little. Instead of a substance let us take a 
force. Cast a stone into a lake not far from the shore. The shock 
will produce a series of waves. These are visible on the surface of 
the water. Do they end at the shore ? No ! The land receives the 
shock like the water, and propagates it ; only, it propagates it in its 
own way, invisibly. What does a force do that strikes a medium un- 
suitable to its kind of motion ? It becomes transformed, that is all. 
It is so always, and -there are no other causes of transformation. 
Transformation implies resistance. You send an electric current 
through a thick wire. You have the current, but you do not per- 
ceive any other force. But cut that thick wire and connect the ends 
by means of a fine wire : the fine wire will grow hot ; there will be a 
transformation of a part of the current into heat. Carry the experi- 
ment further. Take a pretty strong current and interpose a wire still 
more resistent, or a very thin carbon rod. The carbon will emit 
light, and the light will be still more intense if you cut the carbon in 
two, introducing a conductor still more resistent — air. A part of the 


current then is transformed into heat and light. Think you that this 
light acts only as light, and only in the lamp? Not so! It acts in 
every direction round about, first visibly as light, then invisibly as 
heat and as electric current. Hold a magnet near it. If the magnet 
is weak and movable, in the form of a magnetic needle, the beam of 
light will cause it to deviate ; if it is strong and immovable, it will in 
turn cause the beam of light to deviate. The rays of light that 
impinge on the non-transparent vanes of a Crookes radiometer make, 
the mill go round. And all this from a distance, without contact, 
without special conductors. And all this 1 because, somewhere far 
away, somebody turns a crank, or because an almost imperceptible 
chemical process is going on in a battery ! 

A process that is at once chemical, physical and psychical, goes on 
in a brain. A complex action of this kind is propagated through the 
gray matter, as waves are propagated in water. These phenomena 
are intense in a different way : their intensity is not mechanical, it is 
more subtile and more concentrated. What we call an idea is a 
strictly localized phenomenon. But we must not forget that to pro- 
duce an idea, thousands of repeated impressions were necessary, and 
every one represents a force. That force is accumulated, condensed, 
as it were, in an idea. Regarded on its physiological side, an idea 
is only a vibration, a vibration that is propagated, yet which does 
not pass out of the medium in which it can exist as such. It is 
propagated as far as other like vibrations allow. It is propagated 
more widely if it assumes the character which subjectively we call 
■emotive. An emotion is more expansive than an indifferent idea : it 
may occupy the whole brain to the disadvantage of all other ideas. 
But it cannot go beyond without being transformed. Nevertheless, 
like force in general, it cannot remain in isolation, it escapes in 
•disguise. The official world of science allows it only one route — 
through the motor nerves. These are the openings in a dark lantern 
through which the luminous rays pass. But thought does not radiate 
like a flame, nor even like the heat of a flame, though that makes 
little account of the opaque walls that are impermeable to light. 

Thought stays at home, as the chemical action of a battery re- 
mains in the battery ; it is represented abroad by its dynamic 
correlate, called, in the case of the battery, a current, and in the case 
of the brain — 1 know not what : but whatever its name may be, it is 
the dynamic correlate of thought. This dynamic correlate is not, nor 
can be, restricted to the nervic currents of the motor fibers. It 
represents all the transformations of cerebral motion — transformations 
all the more subtile and all the more radical, as the difference is 
greater between the anatomic medium of thought and the environing 

1 The electrical and magnetic phenomena mentioned, not the revolution of the 
iight-mill. — Translator, 


media : bodies solid, liquid, or gaseous, with the ether considered as 
the fourth state of matter and, relatively, filling the universe. 

Let us halt for a moment. We have reached the conclusion that 
the motion that answers to thought cannot be exceptional in nature, 
and that like all force it is transformed into other forms of motion, 
logically necessary though for the most part unknown. 

" No displacement of matter," says Mr. de Parville, " takes place in 
inanimate nature, no act, voluntary or unconscious, takes place in 
living nature, but that there is a production of electricity in exact 
ratio to the energy of the work expended." 1 Besides electricity, 
there is production of heat, production of mechanical motion, and, 
perhaps, production of light. But I do not intend to go into par- 
ticulars. I believe we do not know one thousandth part of the 
molecular changes that a thought may produce, and we must content 
ourselves with simply noting the facts : here, as elsewhere, energy is 
transmitted and transformed. 



SO then we must regard thought as a dynamic act. That dy- 
namic act is developed at the center of a larger dynamic focus 
which is called nerve-action ; and the latter must be considered 
as a special mechanic action resting on a basis wider still — the whole 
vital aggregate. The entire organism has a dynamic tone peculiar 
to itself and dependent on the individual's general anatomical and 
physiological nature, as well as on his state of equilibrium at the 
moment. This equilibrium is governed by the nerve-tension, and 
the latter by the individual's psychic mobility. This triple dynamic 
microcosm acts upon a medium, first by its presence only, as a liv- 
ing mechanism, next by its state, as a nerve-system, finally by its 
thought, as a psychic center. 

Motion being contagious, we can see that a tone that is sufficiently 
pronounced may be communicated to surrounding objects, and espe- 
cially to another organism whose individual tone is less masterful, 
and which is distinguished by passive mobility and readiness to 
be modified. The influence no doubt is reciprocal, but it is the 
1 H. de Parville, " L'Electricite et ses Applications," p. 17. Paris, 1882. 


stronger, the more largely constant, the more invasive modality 
that gives the tone. And then an extrane contact will produce 
either a dissonance unpleasant to the subject, or no effect at all, 
according to the firmness (soliditc) of the dominant tone. When 
the effect is nil, we have to do with a strong, decisive current that 
withstands all interruption. The more the dynamic union is insured 
by contact, by repeated passes, by the physiological submission of 
the subject, the less is transmission balked and the less resistance 
it meets. Some kinds of motion — heat, electricity — can be commu- 
nicated without perceptible modification ; others are transformed. 

But neither the principle of communication nor that of trans- 
formation would be of much use in explaining mental suggestion, 
were they not complemented by another principle which may be 
stated in a general law of physics. 

This we call the law of reversibility} 

We already know that all motion propagates itself (law of trans- 
mission); that all propagated force, when it meets resistance, is 
transformed (law of transformation); but we do not know what 
comes to pass on a second or a third transformation. Now it may 
happen that a motion twice transformed shall regain its original char- 
acter. Under what circumstances might that happen ? It might 
happen if the communicated motion were to find a medium of the 
same kind as at its starting-point. Such is the law of reversibility. 

According to that principle a transformation is always reversible. 

The thing seems, in theory, quite natural, but we must not forget 
that it is less evident in practice, for but rarely do the same con- 
ditions accompany a reiterated transformation. Electricity was for 
a long time produced by friction without ever a thought that fric- 
tion, in turn, can be produced by electricity. The phonautograph, 
/. <?., the mechanical action of speech, was long known before men 
suspected that a mechanical action, in turn, may reproduce speech 
in Edison's phonograph. 

Years ago it was known that under the influence of electricity the 
conductivity of glass as regards light may be changed ; but it is not 
long since-it was found that, inversely, light can alter the electric 
conductivity of selenium. 

Hence may be seen the utility of a law which assures us in advance 
that if the effect A can be produced by the cause B, then, inversely, the effect 
B t can be produced by the cause A. 

If mechanical work produces heat, inversely heat can produce 
mechanical work. Savages turned the first of these facts to account, 
the second was never seriously applied till the invention of the steam- 

If electricity in motion can produce a magnet, a magnet in motion 
1 See my essay, " Force as Motion " (in Polish). Warsaw, 1879. 


can produce an electric current ; and if we obtain a current by 
mechanical rotation, so, inversely, a current can produce mechanical 

If a chemical action can develop light, light, in turn, can develop 
chemical action ; and if this chemical action encounters certain special 
conditions, it will reproduce for us an image that was visible before 
chemical action, and which after chemical action becomes visible 
again in a photograph. 

The magic of science does not cease there. Do you want, by the 
help of an ordinary lamp, to light another lamp miles away ? To do 
so, you have only to set up a series of transmissions. You use your 
lamp to heat a Clamond thermelectric battery. The difference of 
temperature between two metals gives you a current. This current, 
you, being in Paris, send, say, to Versailles. There you oppose resist- 
ance to it by means of a very slender platinum wire. The platinum 
wire grows hot, and on touching the wick of a lamp, lights it. 

But you needed to have a special conductor reaching from Paris to 
Versailles. You must have a conductor also to produce a reversed 
transformation of mechanical motion in a dynamo connected with an 
electric motor. One is needed also for reversed telephonic transmis- 
sion. But a more surprising thing is, that there is a way of reproduc- 
ing speech at a distance without conducting wires. 

You substitute for the wire a ray of light. 

Here is the principle of the photophone : A ray of light is reflected 
by a very thin mirror and projected to a distant point. Back of the 
mirror is fixed a mouthpiece. By speaking into the mouthpiece you 
cause the mirror to vibrate. A vibrating mirror modifies the reflection 
of light. The light that reaches the other station is modified by your 
speech, has your speech to carry, not as speech, but as represented in 
its mechanical correlate. It reaches the station and impinges on a 
lamina of selenium. The selenium is traversed by a local current. 
But the lamina of selenium offers to this current a resistance greater 
or less in proportion to the brightness of the ray that impinges upon 
it. This constantly modified current you pass into a telephone ; it 
causes the disk of the telephone to vibrate according to the modifica- 
tions it undergoes — and it reproduces your speech. 

Is it possible that a ray of light may transmit speech ? Most 
assuredly, for the thing has been done by Bell and Tainter. But 
what physicist 20 years ago would have admitted it? 

Let us note what takes place when this experiment is performed. 
Your brain gives your thought, transformed, to the nerves ; the 
nerves transmit it to the muscles and the vocal chords, they to the 
atmosphere, the atmosphere to the mirror, the mirror to the beam of 
light, i. e., to the ether, the ether to the selenium, the selenium to the 
battery current, the current to the electro-magnet of the telephone, 


the electro-magnet to the vibratory disk, the disk to the air, the air to 
the tympanic membrane, the tympanic membrane to the ossicles of the 
middle ear, these to the membrane of the labyrinth, that membrane to 
the liquid of the inner ear, that to the terminal organs of the auditory 
nerve ; and, finally, that nerve conveys it to the brain. And that 
brain reproduces the thought of another brain. Why ? Because the 
latest transmission has found a medium of the same kind as at its 

Think you that this was never done before Bell and Tainter's 
time ? Why not ? Everybody that ever spoke before a mirror — and, 
in a certain sense, everything is a mirror — sent his speech out into 
the whole world. And let us not forget that this is but one applica- 
tion of a general law. Everything is transmitted, everything is trans- 
formed, everything may be reproduced. 

If anything is not reproduced visibly, palpably, the reason is that 
the conditions of reproduction are more or less remote from perfect 
likeness between the media. Find you a receiver that is sufficiently 
sensitive and you will have reproduction. In vain have you a tele- 
phone unless there is another telephone to act as receiver. But the 
telephone is but a coarse type of a biological reversed transmission. 
The photophone is a more delicate instrument : it does without 
wires ; a ray of light serves its purpose. Some day we shall dispense 
with that one reflected ray, and will employ any intermediary what- 
ever, a jet of water, a current of air. Inventions are ever advancing 
from the complex to the simple as regards fundamental principles, 
though in the details there may be greater complexity. 

But observe what results from this experiment, to wit, among other 
things this, that light may be made a vehicle of speech. Well, in 
like manner the warmth of the hand may be made a vehicle of health 
or of a good intention. 

The cry will be raised, Mysticism / So much worse for those that 
raise it : they will miss the opportunity for learning a grand truth ! 
It matters little to me that the truth has been propagated by an 
ignorant crowd ; forasmuch as it is truth let us give thanks to the 
crowd. Yes^ as the la of a musical instrument is not the la of the 
vocal chord of a man or a woman, of an individuality, so the warmth 
of a hand is not the warmth of a poultice. Do not call in the ther- 
mometer to decide ! A thermometer has no business to be the arbi- 
ter of such a difference, any more than a barometer has to judge the 
purity of the atmosphere, or a pair of scales to judge the quality of 
two wines. Let us be less boastful of our science, so our science 
may be more boastful of us. If everything could be learned in 
school, what, I ask myself, would be the use of the science that 
investigates ? 

One remark more. While availing ourselves of the law of transfor- 


mation, we must not forget that the transformation is never total. I 
say never, and I mean it. In another place I have endeavored to 
prove that a force A is always transformed into more than a force B, 
C, D, etc. A blow with a hammer produces not only a mechanical 
concussion, but also heat, electricity, a sound, a magnetic change, 
sometimes a spark, and so on. Never is a force A transformed in- its 
entirety into a force B. That is why the mechanical equivalent of 
heat cannot, in practice, be an absolutely constant quantity, and 
therefore it is that, instead of the word equivalent, I have chosen 
rather to use the term dynamic correlate. There is something more 
than that : the universe is neither void nor dead. A force that is 
transmitted meets other forces, and if it is transformed only little by 
little, it usually limits itself to modifying another force at its own cost, 
though without suffering perceptibly thereby. This is the case par- 
ticularly with forces that are persistent, concentrated, well seconded 
by their medium : it is the case with the physiological equilibrium, 
nervic force, psychic force, ideas, emotions, tendencies. These 
modify environing forces without themselves disappearing ; they are 
but imperceptibly transformed, and if the next man is of a nature 
exceptionally well adapted to them, they even gain in inductive 
action, as the magnet gains by contact with an armature of soft iron, 
to which, nevertheless, it communicates its force. A sentiment that 
is communicated loses nothing ; on the contrary, a polar induction 
oftentimes strengthens it. 

We should have to write a whole psychology and a whole philos- 
ophy of nature to elucidate sufficiently these subtile questions. Let 
it suffice to say that in " dead " nature there are found like phe- 
nomena. A spark produces a conflagration, but neither the confla- 
gration itself nor even the first flicker is to be regarded as the 
mechanical equivalent of the spark. The latter does but set free 
a series of latent forces. If the magnetic telephone of itself produces 
the current which transmits speech, the same is not true of a 
microphonic transmitter. The latter requires a battery, and speech 
only modifies an existing current, impresses modifications upon it, 
charges it with a mission, without being thereby weakened. It is 
so with the magnetizer's thought. 




LET us now betake ourselves to another station and observe 
what passes there. Let us take the case of sleep produced 
from a distance and strive to explain it. 

Magnetizers tell us that their will concentrates the fluid and then 
projects it outward, approximately in a given direction, like a pack- 
age of opium. So intelligent is this fluid, so complaisant, that it 
hies away with all speed, finds its road, goes round obstructions, 
and hits the subject. It enters the subject, and the moment it has 
duly saturated him sleep appears, brought on by action from afar 
or anear. All very clear, and in fact rather more rational than the 
old-time explanation of the action of opium, according to which the 
drug endorms one because of its somniferous power. 

But in the first place the existence of the fluid needs to be proved ; 
then that it can be shot forth, and that it can find its way ; finally, 
that it will stop just when it has entered the nervous system of the 
subject ; in short, the theory is not of much help to us. It describes 
the action by substantializing it, as Mesmer used to say. 

Let us look at the matter from another side. Suppose for a mo- 
ment the suggestional theory alone to be true, i. <?., that if the sub= 
ject is put to sleep, he endorms himself by the act of his own imagi- 
nation, by ideoplasty. The thought of sleep presents itself to his 
mind, finds a monoideic moment, and is realized. In that case it 
is enough that the imperative thought of sleeping be transmitted 
to the subject to cause him to sleep. This thought cannot come 
to him as a thought. Thoughts do not travel abroad, but we already 
know that thoughts send forth in every direction their dynamic 
correlate. There is no substance carried hither or thither, but a 
wave is propagated and modified more and more according to the 
different natures and the different resistances of the media it trav- 
erses. It may impinge on all manner of bodies without any sensible 
action ; and I say sensible (that is perceptible by the senses) because 
it were contrary to the mechanical ground-principle of the universe 
to say that it has no action. (True, we are guilty every day of 
such inexactitudes. We say, for example, that the moon causes 
the flux and reflux of the ocean, but that it has no action upon the 
atmosphere or upon man.) The action, therefore, is general, but 
it is more or less imperceptible till the undulation finds a medium 
like the original one, and all the conditions requisite for a reversed 


transformation. A brain B presents these conditions ; in it the cor- 
responding thought awakes, and brain B falls asleep. 

" But then all the sensitive brains within the sphere of the action 
must be endormed also?" 

Not so, for all those brains are not regulated, are not in rapport 
with the operator. I do not think it possible to act at a distance 
without rapport. And rapport consists in this, that the dynamic tone 
of the subject corresponds to that of the operator ; that, through 
habit and training, the subject's brain has become quite specially- 
sensitive to the slightest influences of the magnetizer. 

Allowing that mental action from a distance is a fact, is it con- 
scious or is it unconscious ? That is to say, has the subject any inti- 
mation of it before he submits to it entirely ? 

Usually he has not. The transmission is mediate — from the con- 
scious to the unconscious. The thought suggested does not enter 
into the normal polyideia ; but, having found a moment of monoideia 
— a moment of absolute monoideia is never a moment of consciousness : 
who says consciousness says polyideia — it is realized forthwith by 
ideoplasty. It is, then, only in the somnambulic state that the sub- 
ject can perceive the process of the influence and divine its cause. 
Often in such case the image of the operator is suggested at the 
same time, producing a veridical hallucination. 

But it also happens that the subject divines the action before he 
submits completely to it. Sometimes even, particularly when the 
operator falters for a moment, the subject gets time to make resist- 
ance. In that case we have to do with an immediate suggestion that 
is insufficient either because of the operator or of the subject. But 
then, as a rule, the balked immediate suggestion is transformed into 
a mediate, a retarded suggestion, and that may later find its favor- 
able moment. 

The action may, therefore, be conscious or unconscious; but is it 
always purely cerebral ? In other words, is transmission effected in 
the subject through the brain acting on the organism, or through 
the organism acting upon the brain ? 

According to Baragnon's hypothesis, that the transmission of sen- 
sations is the foundation of all mental suggestion, the nerves, they 
being affected first, re-act upon the brain. 

Viewed from the ground of general physiology, this hypothesis is 
not without foundation. The law of reversibility applies no less to 
the physiology of the nervous system than to physics. If an emotion 
finds expression in a muscular attitude, that muscular attitude, when 
impressed upon a subject from without, may conversely produce an 
emotion. This is proved by Braid's muscular suggestions. So, too, 
transmitted sensations might reproduce the thoughts that accom- 
panied them in the mind of the operator. But, in the first place, has 


the operator actually in his mind the sensations of sleep when he 
produces sleep ? To say that he has would be to do some violence 
to the facts. He has only the idea of sleep ; and then I think that, 
at least as regards experiments made at a distance, the sympathic 
action of two brains is more easily conceivable than the sympathic 
action of nerves ; and, since the brain itself suffices to produce, by 
centrifugal action, all possible sensations, it is best to regard the 
brain as the direct recipient of the mental action. 

Hence I hold, or rather suppose, that an action at a distance may 
be exerted solely, or principally, through the intermediation of the 

True, we have admitted a physical action ; nay, a local physical 
action. But it is almost impossible in hypnology in general to elim- 
inate the co-operation of the brain, that is, of ideoplasty or of sen- 
sorial reflex action. You may, indeed, act upon one member sepa- 
rately ; you may paralyze a single finger, or a single ear ; but we 
must not be led astray by an apparent local action produced by 
passes, or by the hand, a magnet, metals, or sundry medicinal sub- 
stances when brought near to the subject : even when the brain 
seems to be in deep sleep it may re-act through reversed ideorganic 
associations. Only one kind of local physical action seems to be 
admissible — the kind analogous to the communication of heat. I 
can warm a cold hand by holding it between my own warm hands, 
and then the action is not reflex, but purely physical. Probably 
there are other physical transmissions of the same sort. It is prob- 
able that a hand well supplied with blood, well fed by the normal 
currents of the muscles and nerves, a hand that transpires in the 
normal way, that, in short, is perfectly equilibrated in the sum of its 
molecular vibrations — it is theoretically probable, and true in fact, 
that such a hand can communicate its tone to a diseased part ; can, 
by induction, revive a slowed molecular motion or a languid physio- 
logical exchange of matter ; can stay dynamic excess of the vital 
processes, and 'can restore equilibrium when it is disturbed. 

I can understand how all this may be done, even at a little 
distance, if' the hand be directed toward the part affected. But I 
cannot well see how similar action can be performed from a great 
distance or from the opposite side of a wall ; and I think that in 
such case there is no longer direct physical communication, but 
rather cerebral suggestion ; and if Mesmer's subject (p. 260 supi-d) 
sensed at the other side of a wall the movements of the magnetizer's 
arms, he perhaps did so in virtue of a transformed and reversed 
thought-transmission and of mentally suggested ideoplasty, rather 
than of local physical action. But we will not dwell upon this ques- 
tion, for as yet it is not susceptible of thorough discussion. Never- 
theless here are some inferences that I think may be drawn from several 


of my experiments as well as from the experiments of Bertrand and 
other authors. 

Contrary to what we should expect according to the theory of the 
exaltation of the senses, mental suggestion seems to be most success- 
ful when the senses are paralyzed. Then, too, we are certainly in 
presence of true thought-transmission. There is an exaltation of the 
brain — a quite special exaltation that we shall presently endeavor to 
make clear ; but there is no exaltation of the senses. 

The question here mooted is full of difficulty, and I present my 
hypotheses concerning it with all reserve. 

Mesmer, it seems to me, was once again right in regard to this. 
He held that the subject whose senses are absolutely paralyzed (as 
happens now and then in catalepsy and in ectasy), nevertheless hears 
his magnetizer, hears him by mental suggestion} Speech, though 
uttered viva voce, directly impresses his brain, not his ear. It might 
happen that thought without speech would be insufficient to influence 
the subject, but even so the hypothesis would stand, for the trans- 
mission might be too weak unless aided by speech. 

Mesmer was partly in error : he made too wide a generalization. 
He believed that in all cases whenever the subject hears only his mag- 
netizer, he hears him mentally. But as we have seen, the phenome- 
non of rapport can in some measure be explained by a specific 
impressionability, by an elective perception, and we must always recur 
to influences that are known before we have recourse to an essen- 
tially new hypothesis. And yet, if instead of a relative anaesthesia 
we find absolute and general insensibility, so that a pistol fired 
suddenly alongside the ear of the subject produces no impression, no 
reflex motion, it is difficult indeed to understand how a word from 
the magnetizer, spoken also unexpectedly, and even with a change of 
voice, is heard perfectly well. 

It is probable, then, that there are two kinds of mental suggestion : 
one conditioned on an exaltation of the senses — an exaltation with 
respect to sensations coming from the part of the magnetizer, consti- 
tuting rapport ; and another conditioned on complete paralysis of the 
senses, with a quite exceptional exaltation of the brain. 

In the latter case there is always a sort of fever localized in the 
brain alone. The head is hot. One would say that all the nerve 
force is concentrated in the hemispheres. There is hyperemia, but 
hyperemia of a special sort — hyperemia from electric tension, one 
might call it ; it does not oppress the brain, it only gives it an excess 
of available, but latent vitality. The circulation is not rapid, but 
it may at any moment become more rapid than usual under the 
influence of the slightest excitation. 

1 Puysegur, it will be remembered, mentions the case of a deaf patient who made 
answer to mental questions. 


If it is the action of the vaso constrictors that regulates the capillary 
circulation, then in this case we must concede to them an extraordi- 
nary mobility of excitation and relaxation. As for the electrical 
phenomena, they might be explained as follows : The classic researches 
of Du Bois-Reymond have shown that the currents proper to the 
nerves as well as to the muscles undergo a reduction of tension 
(affaiblissement) during nerve-action proper ; that is, that a given 
quantity of energy manifests itself, now under the form of nerve- 
action, anon under the form of electric action. In the case we are 
considering the psychic nerve-action is null ; but it may become very 
intense. Consequently, there must exist in the brain an exceptional 
electric tension, which, however, may disappeai rapidly, and which 
in general is subject to great momentary changes. When the brain 
is in aideia the electric tension is' high, and it excites the vasomotors, 
which contract the arteries. But because of the relative hyperemia 
and the consequent tension of the blood, particularly of the arterial 
blood, the slightest reduction of the electric tension may increase the 
work of the nerves and cause a dilatation of the arteries. Hence we 
need only suppose that the electric currents of the atmosphere, modi- 
fied by a psycho-physical transmission (as in the case of the photo- 
phone the ray of light is modified by speech), transmit that modifica- 
tion to the electric currents of the brain, which is, by the sum of these 
conditions, made amenable to the slightest influences, in order to 
understand the reproduction of a mental phenomenon transformed 
into its dynamic correlate. 

I beg the reader not to be over-critical of this little excursion into 
the region of the invisible. It may be that things are quite otherwise ; 
in particular it may be that this inward process is far more complex 
than it would seem to be from my conjectural sketch. One does the 
best one can so as not to seem awkward in the presence of a 
phenomenon that "upsets all the notions of physiology." Let us 
hope that, after all, it will not upset anything, and that it will shed a 
clear light upon many an obscure fact. 1 

To that end, we have to show that the phenomenon is closely con- 
nected with other phenomena that are near at hand and more or less 
known. If the law of reversibility explains action at a distance, it 
must also explain action from anear, and that should have its ana- 
logues in facts still more rudimentary. 

As we have already remarked, mental action at a distance is 

1 On the question of the state of the brain in natural sleep, see the excellent work 
of Dr. A. M. Langlois : " Contributions a l'Etude du Sommeil Naturel et Artificiel," 
Dijon, 1877; an interesting essay by Dr. H. Haan : " Ueber die Beziehungen 
zwischen Hypnotismus und Cerebraler Blutfullung," Wiesbaden, 1S85 ; and a recent 
descriptive work, full of quotations, by Dr. Barth : " Du Sommeil Non-naturel." 
Paris, 1886. 


closely associated with physical action from anear and with several 
phenomena of sympathism and of nervic contagion. Let us now 
descend still lower, to the very bottom of the scale, in order to 
discover the connection between the two series of phenomena. 

Action at a distance exists within the individual organism. "It is," 
says Maudsley, " a characteristic property of the nervous system, 
that a local excitation is immediately transmitted to distant parts. 
How is this done ? We know not. We may therefore designate 
the phenomenon either as sympathy or consensus of parts, induc- 
tion, infection, or reflex action, or by any other name that, like an 
algebraic symbol, may express an unknown quantity." "How are 
we to account for the fact," says Mr. D. Whyte, " that sometimes 
the amputation of an arm or a leg produces contraction of the mus- 
cles of the jaw, rather than of any other organ?" Our ignorance 
thereanent need not surprise us ; nobody knows why, in a sensitive 
plant, Mimosa pudica for example, excitation applied at one point 
is propagated throughout a whole leaf, and sometimes even to the 
neighboring leaves, which contract ; in fact no one knows how elec- 
tric induction is produced, nor why a single point of an excited 
muscle transmits the excitation through the entire length of the 
fibers, nor how the substance of a nerve is transformed in the 
electro-tonic state. 

But in order to understand the principle there is no need to know 
all this in detail. The principle is manifestly contained in the laws 
we have just pointed out. 

Any excitation caused by an anatomical or a purely dynamical 
change, whether spontaneous or induced, always constitutes a center 
of motion. This motion, like all motions in nature, is propagated. 
If it is propagated through an identical medium (nerve-fibers of 
the same kind), there is only transmission. If it enters a different 
medium there is transformation ; and then it is that there is mani- 
fested, in the same individual, the phenomenon of sympathism. 

An inflammatory state of the pituitary gland may be transmitted 
to the mucous membrane of the eyelids, larynx, lungs, intestines, 
anus, etc., in whole or in part, and then there is only transmission. 
But it may take place athwart the intermediate mucous membranes 
without affecting them, and then attack a remote point that individ- 
ually constitutes a nodus minoris resistentice, for here, as elsewhere, the 
transmission becomes evident only along the routes of less resist- 

There will be complete transformation if two different organs re- 
act upon each other from a distance. Thus a displacement of the 
uterus may bring on an attack of melancholia, which disappears when 
the organ is restored to its place (Schroder van der Kolk) ; if the 
action goes to the brain, the reason is that the brain was specially 


predisposed. I have noticed another sympathism of this sort. In an 
ataxic patient a displacement of the uterus produced sciatic pains 
that ceased directly after the organ was put in place. In this 
instance the sciatic nerves presented a favorable field (on account of 
the ataxy), while the brain resisted all influence. I have also seen 
dorsal anaesthesia transformed into nervous hepatic colic. The 
malady changed its place as well as its character from one day to the 
next, and I obtained a rapid cure by a series of those " transfers." 

The state of pregnancy not infrequently produces mental aliena- 
tion, but again it may restore sanity, so that a patient will be sane 
only during that period (Guislain, Griesinger). A pessary will 
instantly suppress melancholia in certain cases (Fleming, Maudsley), 
just as pressure on the ovaries may arrest an hysterical attack 
(Charcot), and in the male pressure on a testicle may arrest an attack 
of hysterical epilepsy (Abbe). It is known that the presence of 
worms in the intestine may cause nasal pruritus and other sympathic 
phenomena, and that a needle in the same region may produce 

But of special interest is total transmission with total transforma- 
tion, seen in many complaints, and which has been observed by Dr. 
Darwin, and lately by Maudsley. There is a certain antagonism 
between convulsions and delirium. Very often delirium makes its 
appearance the moment the convulsions cease, and conversely. In 
such case the excitation of the spinal cord is transferred to the brain, 
and there is transformed under the influence of the medium. 

On the other hand, when transmission takes place in a transverse 
direction, i. e., from one side of the body to the other, it usually 
meets an homologous organ, and therefore does not change in char- 
acter. Thus a headache, any neuralgia, a contraction or a contrac- 
ture, an anaesthesia or a hyperesthesia, passes from right to left, and 
the phenomenon of hypnotic " transfer " shows that all unilateral 
phenomena, sensations and hallucinations (F^re) may be transferred. 

This phenomenon is well known in its essential features from the 
report of the commission appointed by the Biological Society (of 
Paris) to investigate Dr. Burq's metallotherapy. But sometimes the 
" transfer " presents peculiar characters. Here, for example, is an 
interesting fact observed by Ollivier : In a case of left hemianes- 
thesia, by puncturing the numb leg, that author produced a sense of 
pain at the corresponding point in the opposite one. I observed a 
similar fact in the case of a healthy young man, one of my pupils in 
the University of Lemberg. I could produce in B. a clearly localized 
anaesthesia in the waking state. I would draw on his forearm, e. g., a 
square or a triangle, and with my finger would give the spot a slight 
massage ; after a couple of minutes the square or the triangle of 
skin would be numb, but sometimes I could, by puncturing the arm, 


produce in precisely the corresponding part of the other arm the 
painful sensation of pricking. 

There exist therefore in the same organism : 

a. An action at a distance (excitation reflected in a remote organ). 
Note that the excitation may be of psychic origin, and that all cases 
of trophic or ?naterial ideoplasty may be regarded as phenomena of 
mental action at a distance within the same organism ; ' 

b. A transmission with partial transformation apparently entire 
(transmission and transformation of the disease of one organ to 
another different one). Here, too, the starting point may be psychic ; 2 

c. A transfer of symptoms (that is, a reversed psychical or physical 
transmission to analogous bilateral organs). 

Rising a step higher, we observe a transmission from one organism 
to another that is connected with it only by community of nutrition. 
I allude to the mother's influence on the foetus. The foetus is chloro- 
formed when the mother is ; it undergoes the influence of all her 
sensorial excitations (Fere), and seemingly in some cases even moral 
action is shown. Theoretically I have ever held this fact to be one 
of necessary sequence, and I might even cite some convincing obser- 
vations of my own ; but the question has, on the whole, received so 
little serious study that I purposely leave it out. 3 

Another kind of transmission, a little more remote still, is hereditary 
transmission, 4 which is psychical as well as physical. A strange fact ! 
Hereditary transmission is generally accepted, because there is a drop 
of albumen to be its vehicle and to afford a sort of basis for our 
imagination, while people refuse to believe in transmission by con- 
tact ; as though it were easier to conceive of a series of moral tenden- 
cies and aptitudes being locked up in a drop of matter! Take, for 
instance, the case observed by Mr. Brown-Sequard : it will at the 
same time serve as an example of the inverse action of the foetus on 
the mother : 

" The fact recorded by Dr. Harvey, of Edinburgh, as having 
been observed in man and in certain animals, was very clearly pre- 
sented in the guinea-pig. The mother was modified physically so 
as to resemble the father. Male guinea-pigs in which the cervical 

1 See Notes on Ideoplasty in the Appendix. 

2 For the influence of the "brain on the other organs, see the excellent work of Dr. 
Hack-Tuke, " Body and Mind." 

3 Certain pointers are to be found in two interesting works, one written by a dis- 
tinguished physician and strong scientific skeptic, Dr. J. B. Demangeon : " De 
l'lmagination Consideree dans ses Effets Directs sur l'Homme et les Animaux," 2d 
ed., Paris, 1829 ; the other by an enthusiastic but sfiirituel schoolmaster, Frariere : 
"Education Anterieure, Influences Maternelles," etc. Paris, 1862. See also the 
chapter devoted to this question in Dr. Liebeault's excellent and classic essay, " Du 
Sommeil et des Etats Analogues," Paris, 1866. 

4 See Ribot, " Psychological Heredity." 2d ed. [Ribot's " Heredity " was done 
into English by the translator of the present work.] 


sympathic nerve had been cut begot young that presented the effects 
of the severing of that nerve, and the mother, too, at the time of lit- 
tering and afterward, showed the same effects." 

So, then, the operation was performed on the sire, but the dam 
underwent the action ! Is that in any degree less astonishing than 
nervic contagion or mental transmission ? 

At bottom all these phenomena are one. A drop of albumen as an 
intermediary is not more comprehensible than mere contact, or the 
environing media as intermediaries. In nature there are no absolute 
limits, all things are linked together in a gradual evolution. If the 
dam can become like to the sire through a physiological transmission ; 
if the embryo, after inheriting from the sire, can communicate its 
malady to the dam